Our Team

Alda Center Faculty

  • Alan Alda's picture

    Alan Alda

    Visiting Professor

    Alan Alda, seven-time Emmy Award–winner, and Academy Award nominee, has acted in, written or directed many films and television programs, including M*A*S*H and the West Wing. He became interested in communication when a life-long interest in science led to his hosting Scientific American Frontiers for 11 years on PBS. On that show he helped hundreds of scientists around the world make their research clear to the public.

  • Laura Lindenfeld's picture

    Laura Lindenfeld, PhD

    Executive Director

    Dr. Laura Lindenfeld is Executive Director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and Professor in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis. As the Alda Center Director, she oversees a dynamic organization that has trained over 15,000 scientists worldwide and introduced over 50,000 to the Alda Method®.

  • Radha Ganesan's picture

    Radha Ganesan, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Practice

    Radha is an Alda-certified instructor. She co-leads curriculum design efforts at the Center and leads the Alda-Kavli online learning initiative. Her interest in science communication stems from her desire to make the wonders of science accessible to all, and to inspire future generations, especially girls, to pursue scientific pursuits. With the Alda Center’s multidisciplinary team, she finds joy helping scientists share their work and tell their stories to the world. A lifelong learner and educator by training, Radha has worked in different capacities in higher education, adult learning, and in the international development space for more than a decade.

  • Lydia Franco-Hodges's picture

    Lydia Franco-Hodges, MFA

    Assistant Professor of Practice

    Lydia leads workshops for scientists throughout the country and world, helping them to build their communication skills through improvisation and other theater practices. As a member of the Alda Center’s creative team, Lydia designs new curricula and teaches graduate courses at Stony Brook University. She previously taught acting, movement, and performance at Stony Brook, and her wealth of experience as an actor and theater-maker informs her work as an Alda-certified instructor and assistant professor of practice at the Alda Center. Communication has always been central to Lydia's career, and the importance of forging connections between STEM and medical professionals and others inspires her every day.

  • Elizabeth Bojsza's picture

    Elizabeth Bojsza, MFA

    Assistant Professor of Practice

    Elizabeth is an assistant professor of practice and the improvisation lead at the Alda Center. In addition to teaching on campus, she oversees curriculum development and instructor training, and serves as the advisor for Stony Brook University’s Advanced Graduate Certificate in Communicating Science. She finds it incredibly rewarding to apply the skills of analysis and feedback that she honed as a theater artist to designing curriculum and facilitating experiential learning for scientists and medical professionals. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in theater and has trained instructors and teachers in various contexts including non-profit theater and higher education.

  • Brenda MacArthur's picture

    Brenda MacArthur, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Practice

    In addition to her work as an Alda-certified facilitator, Brenda’s social science research into communication helps develop and continuously improve the Alda Center’s workshops. Brenda is dedicated to discovery of knowledge, and enjoys working at the Alda Center because of the team’s commitment to sharing information, and empowering others to do the same. Brenda holds a doctoral degree in health communication from George Mason University, and has published her work in peer-reviewed journals, books, and other publications.

  • Nicole Leavey's picture

    Nicole Leavey, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Practice

    Nicole is an assistant professor of practice and an Alda-certified instructor at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. She loves to connect research to practice while facilitating Alda Center experiential workshops. Nicole leads evaluation efforts for the different Alda Center curricula, and her research interests focus on scientists’ public engagement activities, science communication, and gender roles. She contributes to the Center’s evidence-based curriculum design process, and delivers communication workshops for scientists at academic and professional institutions. She holds a PhD in technology, policy and innovation from Stony Brook University’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

  • Louisa Johnson's picture

    Louisa Johnson, MFA

    Improvisation Lecturer

    Louisa Johnson is a lecturer at Stony Brook University.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts and Philosophy from Stony Brook University, where was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  She earned her master's degree from NYU Tisch in Acting. She worked as a professional actor in New York appearing both on stage and screen, but she always felt that theater ought to serve a broader purpose. Louisa now works with the Alda Center's improv team to develop curriculum, and also teaches improv courses to scientists at Stony Brook University and leads workshops for scientists all over the country.

  • Nancee Moes's picture

    Nancee Moes, MFA

    Improvisation Lecturer

    Flowing from her work as an Alda-certified instructor, Nancee’s special focus is on building online curricula for the Alda-Kavli Learning Center that explore new ways to create authentic engagement. Few things excite her more than fully embodied communication and she is thrilled to be able to help scientists connect to their passion, their bodies, and their audiences. Nancee graduated magna cum laude from Grand Valley State University with degrees in communication and writing. She completed her graduate work in dramaturgy at Stony Brook University.

  • Peter Felsman's picture

    Peter Felsman, PhD

    Postdoctoral Associate

    Peter is a postdoctoral associate in the Alda Center, with a joint appointment to the Social Competence and Treatment Lab in Stony Brook’s Department of Psychology. In addition to his science communication research, Peter studies mental health and social development in youth and adults with and without autism spectrum disorder. Before joining the Alda team, Peter earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan in social work and psychology, where he researched improvisation as an indirect mental health intervention.

  • Susmita Pati's picture

    Susmita Pati, MD, MPH

    Chief Medical Program Advisor

    Susmita Pati, MD MPH, serves as the Alda Center’s Chief Medical Program Advisor to provide consultation about development and evaluation of the Center’s medical workshops. Dr. Pati is a nationally recognized physician-scientist with expertise in population health analytics, innovation, and system transformation. Her leadership and management experience includes roles and responsibilities to develop and advance the clinical, educational and research missions at the departmental, school, university, and health-system levels in large academic medical centers. She is currently a tenured professor of pediatrics, the Division Chief of Primary Care Pediatrics, and Chair of the Professionalism Committee at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. She officially joined the Alda Center in 2018 because her more than 20 years of experience has strengthened her belief that communication is fundamental to success in building strong health care delivery teams that, in turn, lead to joy and fulfillment at work.

  • Josh Rice's picture

    Josh Rice, MFA

    Improvisation Lecturer

    Josh is a lecturer in improvisation and an Alda-certified facilitator. Though he began working with the Alda Center in March 2019, he has been a professional theater and teaching artist since 2003. Josh is a staunch advocate for finding “play in everyday” and using this tool in applied improvisation techniques in conjunction with empathetic listening. Josh holds an MFA in theater from Sarah Lawrence College, is a performer with the Actors’ Equity Association, a puppeteer, and a beer nerd.

  • Temis Taylor's picture

    Temis Taylor, PhD

    Postdoctoral Associate

    Dr. Temis G. Taylor is a Message Design Instructor and Science Communication Researcher at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. As the Center’s lead on Climate Change Communication, she is an advocate for the development of communication skills as a pathway to reduce polarization and improve trust among scientists, the public, and policy makers. She is passionate about helping scientists engage with stakeholders, decision makers, and colleagues by more effectively communicating their work across the broad range of knowledge, experience, worldviews, and values that people hold.

Alda Center Staff

  • Gail McCulloch's picture

    Gail McCulloch

    Director of Development

    Gail McCulloch, the Alda Center's Director of Development, is an experienced professional in higher education fundraising; and non-profit and corporate executive management. 

  • Christina Anselmo's picture

    Christina Anselmo, MA

    Business and Finance Manager

    Christina Kenny Anselmo became involved in the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science in 2012 when she coordinated the first Flame Challenge contest.  She became a full-time associate in 2014 and is responsible for the Center’s financial management and event planning.

  • Lorien Reese Mahay's picture

    Lorien Reese Mahay, MFA

    Workshops Supervisor

    As Workshops Supervisor for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Lorien Reese Mahay is responsible for booking and facilitating the Alda Center’s workshops and presentations at universities, labs, and other institutions around the globe. 

  • Brooke Banfi's picture

    Brooke Banfi

    Administrative Coordinator

    Brooke Banfi joined the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science in 2016. She supports the Executive Director and the Budget & Finance Manager, with roles that include office and administrative support, course scheduling, calendar management, making travel and meeting arrangements, and event planning. She is also a member of the Alda Center's communications team, assisting with website maintenance, AKLC event promotion, and the quarterly newsletter.

  • Dina Brennan's picture

    Dina Brennan

    Senior Workshops Coordinator

    Dina started her career at Stony Brook University in 2002 as an Admissions Counselor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In 2017, Dina was delighted to join the Alda Center and bring her event planning experience to the Workshops Office. Her favorite part of the job is talking to scientists, engineers, and other researchers who are hoping to share the story of their work with the world. Making that first connection between STEM researchers and the Alda team, Dina enjoys introducing new people to the Alda Method® so they can tell us all what they do and why it matters. 

  • Chris Bill's picture

    Chris Bill

    Graduate Assistant

    Chris Bill is a Communications Assistant who lends his creative perspective and organizational skills in the planning, implementation, and marketing of Alda Center outreach and online training events. He also curates content for the Alda Center's social media accounts. By training, Chris is a DMA candidate in Jazz Studies and Performance at Stony Brook University. He brings a unique perspective to the Alda Center, blending performance art and science communication.

  • Stefanie Ambrosio-Mullady's picture

    Stefanie Ambrosio-Mullady, MA

    Workshops & Curriculum Coordinator

    Stefanie Ambrosio-Mullady is the Alda Center's Workshops and Curriculum Coordinator. Having spent the bulk of her career in nonprofit management and event coordination, Stefanie has overseen the execution of numerous events, workshops and conferences, as well as help grow a young professionals program and fundraise. Stefanie is passionate about professional enrichment, group dynamics, and organizational development.

  • lkie's picture

    Lori Kie, MA

    Communications Manager

    Lori is the Alda Center’s communications manager, responsible for helping to tell the Center’s story in print and online, and marketing its workshops and other programs. A lifelong lover of language, Lori is passionate about sharing the Alda Center’s work, and about empowering others to communicate clearly and vividly. A journalist by training, Lori has worked in higher-education communications for a decade.

     

  • Jamie Night's picture

    Jamie Night

    Graduate Assistant

    Jamie Night is a graduate assistant at the Alda Center. She is responsible for helping to plan and implement the Center's online learning activities through the Alda-Kavli Learning Center. She also assists with evaluations, surveys, and communication with workshop participants and instructors. Jamie is pursuing a master's in social work at Stony Brook's School of Social Welfare, where she is studying community, policy, and political social action.

On-the-Road Workshop Instructors

  • Dcalvitto's picture

    David Calvitto

    Instructor

    In addition to his work as an Alda-certified instructor, David is a professional actor and stage director who, like Alan Alda himself, trained in improvisational techniques early in his career. Since joining the Alda Center in 2016, his great passion has been sharing this discipline of personal connection with scientists, doctors, and other professionals to improve communication and understanding while igniting curiosity in the public.

  • Carolyn Hall's picture

    Carolyn Hall

    Instructor

    Carolyn, based in New York City, is an historical marine ecologist, an award-winning professional contemporary dancer, and an Alda-certified instructor with the Alda Center at Stony Brook University who leads workshops across the United States. A member of the Alda Center team since 2015, she thoroughly enjoys using her scientist and artist halves to encourage others to more broadly, confidently, and creatively communicate their expertise. Carolyn works as an independent researcher and consultant on various projects that focus on the history of our shorelines and the impact of our changing climate.

  • Terry Greiss's picture

    Terry Greiss

    Instructor

    Along with his work as an Alda-certified instructor, Terry’s theater background spans a career of 50 years. As the founder of Brooklyn’s Irondale Ensemble, he has taught hundreds of actors and non-actors to use improvisation as a tool of enhanced communication; building bridges that help us better understand each other. Aside from his continued work on stage, he can be sometimes be seen on TV. Terry also created To Protect, Serve and Understand, an improv training program for New York City police officers, to help them communicate more effectively with community members.

  • Celia Schaefer's picture

    Celia Schaefer

    Instructor

    Celia became an Alda-certified instructor because she is passionate about the practical applications of listening and empathy in professional communication. After leading improvisation and role-play workshops for medical, business, and service professionals, she began working with the Alda Center in 2016. In addition to her work as a workshop facilitator, Celia teaches improvisation and scene work for professional actors, and performs on stage, in films, and on television.

  • Julia Hathaway's picture

    Julia Hathaway

    Instructor

    Julia Hathaway’s dedication to helping people communicate their science derives from years in the environmental arena. She has served as personal staff to Representative Harry Johnston and Senator Bob Graham, as a Congressional liaison for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and as a lobbyist for the Ocean Conservancy. She also worked for the House Committee on Natural Resources. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Julia directed environmental justice campaigns for the Sierra Club.

  • Carla Jablonski's picture

    Carla Jablonski

    Instructor

    By becoming an Alda-certified instructor, Carla merges her careers in the theater and in publishing into a satisfying holistic practice. She is an editor for major publishers as well as for individual clients, developing and honing stories of all types. An actor with an extensive background in Improv, Carla believes Improv teaches us how to be truly present and how to listen, both crucial to any form of successful communication. The Alda Center’s experiential, immersive curriculum excites and inspires her in every workshop. A widely published author, she was commissioned to write two books on science for children.

  • Marcy McGinnis's picture

    Marcy McGinnis

    Instructor

    Marcy McGinnis is an Alda-certified instructor. She was instrumental in the creation of the Alda Center and its curriculum development beginning in 2009. Calling upon her decades-long career in broadcast news, she is also at the core of the Center’s curriculum that concentrates on dealing with the media and helping scientists improve their skills communicating with audiences via television, radio, print and digital outlets. Marcy is a strong believer that experiential workshops that increase self-awareness and audience awareness are the foundations and motivating forces of successful science communication. She absolutely loves seeing workshop participants transform their methods of communication “right before her eyes."

  • JRea's picture

    James Rea

    Instructor

    James Rea is a communications coach and consultant who specializes in helping scientists, engineers, and other technical experts reach their key audiences with clear, engaging stories. James started on this path nearly 20 years ago, when he took on a communications role with the U.S. EPA’s Design for the Environment Program. 

  • Carol Schindler's picture

    Carol Schindler

    Instructor

    Carol brings a lifetime of improvisational skills to her work as an Alda-certified instructor. She studied improv with Del Close at Second City and was a founding member of Chicago City Limits, the award winning Improv group. Carol has used improvisation to inform her work as a long time communications coach and writer. She teaches improv in NYC and is the co-author of “A Doctor and a Plumber in a Rowboat: The Essential Guide to Improvisation for Performers, Teachers, Writers & Everyone else”. Carol is thrilled to be working with the Alda Center. Carol believes that within each scientist there is a dynamic story waiting to be told.

  • Christian Seiter's picture

    Christian Seiter

    Instructor

    Christian Seiter is a doctoral student studying health communication at George Mason University and a research assistant working with the Alda Center. Prior to enrolling at GMU, Christian received a BFA in acting from the University of Utah and an MS in medical humanities from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Christian’s research interests involve using improvisation and theater to teach end-of-life communication competence to healthcare providers.

  • Ken Weitzman's picture

    Ken Weitzman

    Instructor

    Ken is an associate professor of English and writing at Stony Brook University, and an affiliated faculty member at the Alda Center. As a professional playwright, his work has been commissioned and produced at major theaters across the country and internationally. He’s taught dramatic writing to graduate and undergraduates for more than 20 years using structured improvisation as a writing technique. With the Alda Center, Ken develops curricula, particularly as related to writing and storytelling, and co-taught the Center’s podcasting class.