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Our Team




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Faculty & Staff
HAL ABELSON


Professor Abelson is well known for his work in undergraduate computing education and is a co-author of the classic text Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Press, 1985, 1996). He is a leader in the global movement for Open Educational Resources and a founding board member of the Free Software Foundation and Creative Commons.

MARISOL DIAZ


Marisol Diaz has been the Project Manager for MIT App Inventor since 2013 and has been at MIT for the last 16 years. Marisol has a background in management, sales, communications, customer service, event planning and marketing. She worked for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for her first 10 years at MIT.

FARZEEN HARUNANI


Farzeen Harunani has been part of the App Inventor Education team since 2017. She started her career as an aerospace engineer until she realized building educational materials was a lot more rewarding for her than building airplanes. She has an M.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Computer Engineering.

KAREN LANG


Karen spent several years as a software engineer, and then decided education was her true calling. She spent most of her career teaching Computer Science, in several international schools and around New England. She has also served on board of directors for the Computer Science Teachers Association and is passionate about Computer Science education and exposing students to the boundless opportunities CS presents.

ANDREW MCKINNEY


McKinney has over 20 years of experience developing educational technology, at Harvard and in various other capacities at MIT prior to joining CML. The common thread he brings -- even more than his rich experience in leading development of educational technology projects -- is a passion for helping to improve the effectiveness and productivity of teaching and learning through the use of technology.

HEDGE NICHOLS



Hedge Nichols joined App Inventor in 2017 supporting the Hong Kong team. Prior to this, Hedge supported MIT Facilities in the Security and Emergency Management Office for several years. Before joining academia, Hedge assisted homeless and marginalized women in accessing and learning how to use computers at the nonprofit Cambridge Women’s Center. Hedge is passionate about organization and learning new things.

EVAN PATTON


Evan is a software engineer on the App Inventor project. His aim is to help App Inventor users realize the full potential of their app ideas through the development of new components and features to aid in collaboration, rich data collection and visualization, and efficiency. During his time as a graduate student, Evan consulted on the PUNYA project to expand App Inventor capabilities for humanitarian causes, and he has consulted for a number of companies deploying Android and iOS applications. Evan completed his Ph.D. on optimizing reasoning software power consumption on smartphones at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in June 2016 prior to joining the App Inventor team. He also holds a M.S. in Cognitive Science and B.S. in Computer Science & Psychology from RPI.

JEFF SCHILLER


Jeff is a Software Developer, Security Architect and Network Manager. He has spent more than 25 years building systems that have to work 24/7 with minimal human intervention. As Area Director for Security with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), he spent 9 years shepherding the development of critical Internet security technology including IP layer encryption, E-mail encryption and Transport Layer Security (https). He brings his expertise in building stable scalable systems to MIT App Inventor.

JOSH SHELDON


Sheldon is an educational technologist who has worked for more than 15 years at the intersection of science, technology, and learning. A former middle and high school teacher, he has worked for a Nobel Peace Prize winning human rights organization and on award-winning early online communities for education. He values playfulness in almost everything, and is in fact quite serious about it.

MARK SHERMAN


Mark has worked with teacher and students of all ages, helping them learn about engineering, robotics, and computer science. He has run workshops is India, China, and many sites in the US. Mark has a PhD in Computer Science specializing in CS Education research at UMass Lowell. He has prepared teachers for using Scratch, Snap!, MIT App Inventor, and the Beauty & Joy of Computing curriculum in their classrooms. Mark is also into rock climbing and helps run a Boston-area community theater company.

MIKE TISSENBAUM


Mike completed his Ph.D. in education and technology at the University of Toronto, where he investigated the role of smart classrooms and distributed technology frameworks for science inquiry learning. In his postdoctoral work at UW-Madison, Mike blended qualitative, quantitative, and learning analytics approaches to advance innovative new ways for tracking and supporting engineering and computational learning. Mike is passionate about developing interventions that empower young learners to become active members of their digitally mediated futures.

Advisors
JOSE DOMINGUEZ


José is a software engineer with Red Hat working on mobile platforms and services. He is also a researcher in education focusing on learning practices in open source communities. After being part of the core team at MIT for almost two years, José continues to participate in the project by mentoring students in programs such as Facebook Open Academy and Google Summer of Code.

MARK FRIEDMAN


Mark works at Google and led the original App Inventor project there. He has long-standing interests in programming languages and their environments and in the uses of technology in education. Mark is an occasional contributor to the App Inventor project at MIT - where he is mostly a troublemaker - and is an advisor to the MIT Center for Mobile Learning.

LIZ LOONEY


Liz is a software engineer at Google and worked on the original App Inventor team there. She participated in the Robotics Task Force at Google, leading the development of the LEGO MINDSTORMS components in App Inventor. She is a co-author of App Inventor (O'Reilly 2011) with David Wolber, Hal Abelson, and Ellen Spertus. Liz has over 25 years of software engineering experience, working at Borland, Oracle, and Google, after earning a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from The University of New Hampshire.

RALPH MORELLI


Ralph Morelli is Professor of Computer Science at Trinity College in Hartford, CT and was a Visiting Scientist at MIT’s Center for Mobile Learning during the 2012-2013 academic year. He has been teaching Computing with Mobile Phones, an App Inventor-based CS course since Spring 2011. During the 2011-2012 academic year the course was part of the CS Principles Project’s Phase II Pilot experiment. Ralph is currently funded by the National Science Foundation CE21 Program to continue to develop and pilot his CS Principles course with Hartford Public School teachers.

SHARON PERL


Sharon has been a software engineer at Google for more than 10 years, and has worked on App Inventor since the project's inception. Before App Inventor she worked on various systems infrastructure projects at Google, and did systems research at DEC's Systems Research Center (remember DEC?!). She did her graduate work at MIT, and undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, all in Computer Science.

ELLEN SPERTUS


Professor Ellen Spertus was a member of the original App Inventor team at Google, where she is a senior research scientist, and is a professor of computer science at Mills College. For more than 20 years, she has worked toward increasing the number of girls and women in computer science, in addition to doing research in computer architecture, information retrieval, recommender systems, and online communities. She is a co-author of App Inventor (O'Reilly 2011) with David Wolber, Hal Abelson, and Liz Looney.

FRANKLYN TURBAK


Franklyn (Lyn) Turbak is a professor of computer science at Wellesley College. He is a co-author of the book Design Concepts in Programming Languages (MIT Press, 2008) and leads the TinkerBlocks project, whose goal is to create more expressive blocks programming languages. Lyn is excited by how App Inventor is democratizing programming.

DAVID WOLBER


David is a professor of computer science at the University of San Francisco. He has taught App Inventor to non-majors since the Google pilot program in 2009. He is co-author of "App Inventor: Create your own Android Apps" (O'Reilly 2010) and author of many of the advanced tutorials on the App Inventor site. He runs the site appinventor.org (link is external) and blogs at appinventorblog.com (link is external).

Students
XINYUE DENG


Xinyue is a Master of Engineering student at MIT majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She joined the App Inventor Team in September 2015 as an undergraduate researcher and helped the team build an extension for gesture recognition, and she is working on the feature of group collaboration in App Inventor for her masters thesis. She has previously interned at Bloomberg and Google as a software engineer. Next year, Xinyue will join Airbnb as a software engineer. She hopes to build great applications with her knowledge.

ZOE GONG


Zoe is a sophomore at MIT studying Computer Science. She joined the App Inventor team in Fall of 2016. She is interested in improving education and spreading love of science and technology! She loves figure skating, musical theatre, and comic books.

EMILY GIURLEO


Emily is a SuperUROP student and a senior studying Computer Science. She has been working with the App Inventor lab since spring of 2015 and has completed multiple UROP projects. Currently, she is working on creating an accessible keyboard interface for the App Inventor blocks workspace. Next year, she will be moving back to NYC to work as a software engineer at Codecademy.

JANE IM


Jane is a business student double majoring computer science, and is actively participating in the VR extension project for App Inventor. She hopes it will be widely used and inspires a lot of people! Other than VR she is also interested in soft robotics nowadays. She always thinks of how technology could more directly help people.

NATALIE LAO


Natalie is a Master of Engineering student at MIT majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She joined the App Inventor team in January 2016 and is involved with the Hong Kong CoolThink project and the RedCloud shared data project. She has previously taught high school STEM courses in Barcelona, interned at Google as an Associate Product Manager, and interned at General Electric as a Mobile and Field Lead. Natalie aims to create tools that will lower the barrier of entry and raise the ceiling of possibilities for technical innovation.

LISA RUAN


Lisa is a junior at MIT studying Applied Mathematics. She's been a part of the App Inventor team since Fall 2016 and is conducting data analysis on the links between AppInventor block types and program complexity. She's previously conducted research on bikesharing optimization as a Singapore-MIT Alliance Research Alliance research fellow and on self-driving vehicle systems as part of the MIT Media Lab's Changing Places group. Lisa has also interned at Facebook as a data analytics intern. She hopes insight into computational learning will improve programming curricula and motivate further questions about the intersection of human thought and computation.

Alumni
2016 Kristin Asmus
Aubrey Colter
Tiffany Le
Aaron Suarez
Benji Xie
2015 Tricia Divita
Keith Galli
Weihua Li
Vedha Sayyaparaju
Isra Shabir
2014 Joanie Weaver
2013 Arun Saigal
Erin Davis
Emily Erdman
2012 Miren Bamforth
Karishma Chadha
Violeta Ilieva
Maki Kato
Logan Mercer
Jason Wu
2011 Kate Feeney
Katie Lavery
Vance Turnewitsch