Communication Lab

Diana-ChienDiana Chien
Senior Program Manager, School of Engineering Communication Lab

Dr. Diana Chien has worked with the MIT Communication Lab since its launch in 2013, and became program director in the spring of 2017, following the departure of founder Jaime Goldstein. From 2013-2015, Diana was a Biological Engineering (BE) Communication Fellow, while she was a PhD student in the Microbiology graduate program. From 2016-2017, she led the BE Communication Lab and taught the communication curricula for BE’s two communication-intensive undergraduate courses. During that time, she also led the launch of the Communication Lab’s suite of online resources, the CommKit, which she co-designed with BE Communication Fellow alumnus Dr. Scott Olesen.

Diana’s dedication to science communication grows out of her longtime passion for both biology and writing: as an undergraduate at Princeton University, she majored in ecology and evolutionary biology and minored in creative writing. Her poetry has received awards from and been published in major literary magazines. She is thrilled to be able to combine her two passions through her work with the Communication Lab.

Jared Berezin HeadshotJared Berezin
Manager, Civil and Environmental Engineering Communication Lab

Jared Berezin leads a team of graduate and postdoc Fellows in their efforts to strengthen written, oral, and visual communication across the CEE community. Jared also collaborates with CEE students, postdocs, faculty, and staff to identify communication goals and design meaningful learning opportunities. In addition, he teaches the first-year writing course, 21W.035 (Communicating Science to the Public), and is the communication instructor for the popular mechanical engineering course, 2.00b (Toy Product Design). Jared is also the Head of House for Random Hall, an undergraduate dorm at MIT, where he is committed to supporting student wellbeing with a team of Graduate Resident Advisors (GRAs).

Before joining the Comm Lab, Jared served for nine years as a lecturer in MIT’s Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program, where he taught in a variety of subjects, including Environmental Chemistry, Nuclear Science, Chemical Engineering, and Product Design. In this role, Jared collaborated with faculty to design active communication experiences and assignments to help students explore rhetorical principles in a variety of contexts. Jared has presented and published research on team collaboration, disability studies, and metaphorical explanation, and is currently researching compassion pedagogy in higher education.

Prior to joining MIT, Jared was a science writer for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he wrote narrative reports to educate and solicit funding from public and philanthropic organizations. He holds a BA in English from Colby College, an MA in Literature from Boston College, and a PhD in Education from Lesley University.

Svetlana BoriskinaSvetlana Boriskina
Manager, Mechanical Engineering Communication Lab

Dr. Svetlana Boriskina works with a team of Mechanical Engineering Communication Fellows to provide resources and guidance to MechE students, post-docs, and faculty in communicating their research to the world and advancing their careers in technical fields. Svetlana is also a Research Scientist in MechE, leading research projects on solar energy harvesting, optical sensing, and smart materials design.

Originally from Ukraine, Svetlana holds a Ph.D. degree in Physics and Mathematics from the Kharkov National University, one of leading research universities in the former USSR. She worked at the University of Nottingham in UK and at Boston University prior to joining MIT in 2012. Her interdisciplinary research and teaching expertise ranges from optics and electrical engineering to solid state physics and thermodynamics. She has long been dedicated to student mentorship, and has guided dozens of middle-to-grad-school student mentees during her career in academia. She leverages her experience as an editor at the Journal of Optics and Optics Express, a symposia organizer for the Materials Research Society and the Optical Society of America, and a proposal reviewer for the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy to improve science communication in MechE.

Sean ClarkeSean Clarke
Communication Lecturer, Biological Engineering Communication Lab

Dr. Sean Clarke first joined BE as a Ph.D. student in 2005, so he has seen the department’s evolution and expansion firsthand. After completing his thesis and a postdoc in Eric Alm’s lab, he worked on applied microbial challenges in two contexts: at the Cellars at Jasper Hill, an award-winning Vermont cheesemaker, and at Sample6, a startup using synthetic biology to solve food safety challenges. Wanting to contribute to the innovative and inspiring BE community, Sean returned in 2016 to a dual position. Half of his work is as a communication instructor for the undergraduate communication-intensive lab and capstone courses. In conjunction, he has a new industry liaison role working to improve connections between BE and the thriving local biotech ecosystem.

Jacqueline Goldstein Jac Goldstein
Instructional Designer, School of Engineering Communication Lab

Dr. Jac Goldstein (she/her) is the Instructional Designer for the MIT School of Engineering Communication Lab, where she trains researchers in technical communication and peer-coaching best practices. She is particularly interested in using inclusive communication to foster scientific understanding and identity in higher education.

She has led training workshops for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Science Communication Trainers Network, SciCommCon, and the Inclusive SciComm Symposium. She is also a founder of SciCommBites, a research summary blog dedicated to digesting the latest research on science communication.

Dr. Goldstein holds a PhD in Astronomy, with a minor in Life Sciences Communication, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She holds a BS in Physics from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Krista KitowiczKrista Kitowicz
Program Administrator, School of Engineering Communication Lab

Krista Kitowicz grew up on a dirt road in upstate New York, where she spent her days swimming in and ice skating on her family’s pond, hiking in the Adirondacks, and attending college hockey games. She attended Cornell University, where she earned a degree in Communication, and continued to develop her love of college hockey by working in the sports communication office. She moved to Boston immediately after graduation and began her career at the Broad Institute, acting as a project manager. Krista then joined the Office of Corporate Relations at MIT, where she focused on communication and conference planning, and following that, became the Assistant Director of Events in Resource Development. She joined the staff of the Communication Lab in 2015 and then transitioned to the MIT Museum to take on the role of Event Rentals Manager. She is thrilled to be returning to the Communication Lab where she is able to combine her love of communication, events, and MIT. Krista lives in Wakefield with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys hiking, running (not really, but she does it anyway), watching hockey, and traveling.

Brian Mernoff Bio PhotoBrian Mernoff
Manager, AeroAstro Communication Lab

Brian Mernoff joined the Communication Lab in 2023 as the manager for AeroAstro where he works with Fellows to help them become skilled communication mentors. He started teaching swimming at the age of 14 and since then has taught adaptive outdoor recreation, whitewater kayaking, middle and high school science and math, and much more. He obtained an M.S. in chemistry from Tufts and a B.S. and teaching certifications in chemistry and math from Westfield State University.

Previously, Brian served as the Manager for Science Education at the MIT Museum. In this role, he created and facilitated hands-on experiences that engaged visitors of all ages in the processes of STEAM through the lens of MIT research. He also mentored graduate students and other researchers in facilitating experiences around topics such as the mathematics of origami and knots, high-speed photography, electron microscopy, holography, exoplanets, and their own research.

Brian is a life-long learner, with a personal goal of learning a new skill or technique every year. Over the years he has become proficient at 3D modeling, 3D printing, laser cutting, astrophotography, archery, mountain biking, puzzle box and board game design, and exploring the world with his new daughter.

Deanna MontgomeryDeanna Montgomery
Manager, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Communication Lab

Dr. Deanna Montgomery joined MIT in 2019 as the manager of the EECS Communication Lab, where she works with a team of talented Fellows to serve the communication needs of MIT’s largest department. Deanna firmly believes that communication skills can always improve, and she particularly enjoys helping others work towards implementing better communication techniques and strategies through training and practice.

Deanna holds a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Michigan, where she gained valuable experience in mentoring, teaching, and communicating with a variety of audiences. In parallel to conducting research, she worked with many teams to design and improve professional development resources and events for undergraduates, graduate students, and others. As a result, Deanna has thought deeply about effective and inclusive practices for curriculum and workshop design and implementation. Her work designing and facilitating workshops with RELATE, a science communication training organization, led her to further develop a steadily growing passion for science communication.  These experiences propelled her towards a career where she could continue seeking, implementing, and teaching best practices for technical communication.

Erika Reinfeld Bio PhotoErika Reinfeld
Manager, Nuclear Science and Engineering Communication Lab

​Erika Reinfeld (she/her/hers) joined the Comm Lab in 2023 after nearly ten years managing the public outreach program at MIT’s cancer research center. Prior to this, she she developed and taught STEAM education programs for a wide range of audiences as the Education Coordinator at the MIT Museum and as an Education Specialist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Holding degrees in astronomy, theatre, and museum education, Erika is passionate about working across disciplines to tell science stories and equipping researchers with the tools they need to share their work with others. Favorite projects over the years have included a children’s musical about dark matter, nationally traveling exhibitions about cosmology and black holes, kinesthetic science-themed flash mobs, pop-up cancer research mini-golf, an exhibition of science-inspired teen fashion design, teen mentorship programs, and various investigations into the use of arts education frameworks to help lay audiences make sense of science imagery.

A great lover of puns, Erika is “particle-ularly” excited to be working with the Fellows and students of NSE in her dual role as Communication Lab Manager and science communications Lecturer. She lives north of Boston with her wife, children, and gerbils.

Chiara Ricci-Tam HeadshotChiara Ricci-Tam
Manager, Biological Engineering Communication Lab

​A lifelong fan of how living things are incredibly puzzling, Chiara completed her B.S. in Molecular Biology at the University of California San Diego before switching coasts to complete her Ph.D. at Harvard University in the lab of Dr. Michael Springer in the Systems Biology Department at Harvard Medical School, where she gained a lasting penchant for systems-level perspectives and design-driven approaches in biological research. While exploring these interests further as a postdoc with Dr. Allyson Sgro at Boston University, Chiara also worked as a Communication Lab Fellow in the BU Biological Design Center, ultimately finding her second self-appointed calling in studying how the pursuit of science is interdependent on how it is communicated. Excited to explore the possibilities of this space, Chiara works in her dual role as a Communication Lecturer and Lab Manager to provide support and training to the BE community that is focused on innovation and best practices in science communication. When not thinking too hard about communication, from visual design practices to how to compose her next email, Chiara can be found enjoying nature or making art in whichever latest medium has caught her attention.

Caitlin StierCaitlin Stier
Manager, Chemical Engineering Communication Lab

Caitlin Stier serves as the ChemE Communication Lab manager. She brings over ten years of experience working as a science communicator and producer in publishing, broadcast, and education. She earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Smith College and an M.S. in Science Journalism from Boston University, where she also served as a graduate writing fellow.

From research briefs to a YouTube miniseries, Caitlin has designed science communication in a range of media, for a range of audiences. Prior to her role in ChemE, Caitlin developed educational resources for PBS LearningMedia that taught kindergarteners about topics like solar flares using NASA media. Her work as a reporter for New Scientist exposed her to the realities of distilling complex science for a broad audience, while her role at Nature Publishing Group taught her how to formulate content for other experts.

Caitlin is thrilled to use her experience to help chemical engineers expand the reach and impact of their research through effective communication. She sees good communication as a practice any engineer can master with the right tools and guidance.

Programs in Technical Leadership and Communication

The Communication Lab is a member of the Programs in Technical Leadership and Communication, under the leadership of the following faculty and staff:

Reza RahamanReza Rahaman
Industry Co-Director and Senior Lecturer
Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, Graduate Engineering Leadership Program, UPOP, Communication Lab

Dr. Reza Rahaman returned to MIT in 2018 after a 29-year career in the Consumer Packaged Goods, Pharmaceuticals, and Agricultural Chemical Industries. Immediately prior to MIT, Reza was the Vice-president of Research, Development, and Innovation for the Specialty Division of the Clorox Company. In that role he was accountable for developing innovation strategies for a diverse set of businesses and ensuring robust technology roadmaps and innovation pipelines to deliver growth and profit targets for 45% of the Clorox Company portfolio.

In addition to his passion for developing leaders, Reza is passionate about workplace equality and is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the world’s premier nonprofit promoting LGBT+ workplace equality.

Reza received his BSc.(Eng.) in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, University of London, and his MSCEP in Chemical Engineering Practice and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT.

Oli (Olivier) de WeckOli (Olivier) de Weck
Faculty Co-Director
Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, Graduate Engineering Leadership Program, UPOP, Communication Lab

A leader in systems engineering, de Weck researches how complex human-made systems such as aircraft, spacecraft, automobiles, and infrastructures are designed, manufactured, and operated. A member of the MIT faculty since 2001, de Weck earned a BS in industrial engineering at ETH Zurich in 1993 and an MS and PhD in aerospace systems at MIT in 1999 and 2001. He previously served as associate head of the engineering systems division and as executive director of Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) commission at MIT. He recently returned to campus after a two-year leave of absence at Airbus in Toulouse, France, where he served as senior vice president and was responsible for planning and roadmapping the group’s $1 billion research and technology portfolio

A fellow of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), de Weck was honored with their Outstanding Service Award in 2018 for his work as editor-in-chief of Systems Engineering. He is also an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AAIA), where he previously served as associate editor for the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets and chair of the AIAA Space Logistics Technical Committee. De Weck is a past recipient of the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising from the MIT School of Engineering, and the Teaching with Digital Technology Award from the MIT Office of Open Learning.

Eliana RunyonEliana Runyon
Manager of Finance and Administration, Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, Graduate Engineering Leadership Program, UPOP, Communication Lab

Eliana Marques Runyon is the Manager of Finance and Administration for the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program. Previously, she was an Area Officer in the Management Science Area and Assistant Director at the Office of External Relations at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Eliana has served in leadership roles for 25 years: prior to coming to MIT, she worked to establish a theological institute in the Portuguese language based in Malden, MA. Eliana also served as a regional superintendent of a group of churches in Massachusetts for many years, teaching leadership development and community engagement. She is a lecturer in the Master’s program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS), and co-pastors the Lynn Foursquare Church with her husband.

Eliana earned the degrees of Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and holds a Bachelor Degree in Education from PUC-SP in Brazil.