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.
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.
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.
Manager, Nuclear Science and Engineering Communication Lab
Dr. Marina Dang joined MIT in 2014 to launch the Communication Lab program in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Marina holds a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Brandeis University where she studied protein structure, function, and dynamics. Upon graduating, she taught Principles of Chemistry at Emmanuel College before becoming a science curriculum developer at Ergopedia, now part of PASCO Scientific. Marina’s passion for teaching, both in formal and informal settings, stems from her belief that each individual holds great potential. Whether Marina taught thermodynamics at Emmanuel, coached underserved students through the Posse Foundation, or tutored immigrants for a nonprofit organization, her motivation has been to instill a sense of empowerment in all her students. She is excited to continue this work in her role at the Communication Lab.
Manager, Civil and Environmental Engineering Communication Lab
Dr. Chris Featherman joined MIT’s Comm Lab in 2022 as the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Communication Lab Manager. Chris supports and mentors the CEE Comm Lab Fellows as they serve the CEE community. He also collaborates with the Comm Lab team to develop instructional materials and peer-coaching best practices.
An applied linguist, Chris holds a Ph.D. in Language and Rhetoric from the University of Washington in Seattle, where, in addition to his doctoral research on language and ideology in the public sphere, he collaborated with international researchers to better understand the English-language histories and practices of African skilled migrants. Before joining MIT, he taught at Northeastern University, where he enjoyed helping students use writing to link their service- and co-op learning experiences with their professional and educational goals. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Chris has worked both in the U.S. and abroad with students and professionals from diverse language and learning backgrounds. His teaching and research are guided by the belief that communication is not only a tool for building and sharing knowledge, but also a means of addressing our collective challenges and extending opportunities to others. He is grateful to continue this work as a member of MIT’s Comm Lab team.
Instructional Designer, School of Engineering Communication Lab
Dr. Jacqueline Goldstein joined the MIT Communication Lab as an Instructional Designer in 2021. She develops curricula to train Communication Fellows in technical communication and peer-coaching best practices.
Jacqueline earned her Ph.D. in Astronomy, minoring in Life Sciences Communication, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her Ph.D. she developed a passion for fostering understanding and connection through science communication. She hosted a radio show about astronomy news on WORT 89.9FM, organized lectures for graduate researchers to share their science with undergraduates, and led workshops with Story Form Science training researchers to communicate their science through story. Wanting to share best practices in communication, Jacqueline launched SciCommBites – a blog summarizing the latest science communication research.
Jacqueline’s approach to training is influenced by research on inclusion, equity, and intersectionality in science communication. She is thrilled to continue her work with the MIT Communication Lab.
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.
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.
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:
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 Weck
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.
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.