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 12,000 scientists worldwide and introduced over 40,000 to the Alda Method®.

  • Radha Ganesan's picture

    Radha Ganesan, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Practice & Message Design Lead

    Radha Ganesan has been working in the areas of Education and Training for the past 13 years. She comes with extensive experience in designing and delivering professional development learning experiences for a wide range of sectors.

  • Christine O'Connell's picture

    Christine O'Connell, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Science Communication

    Dr. Christine O’Connell is an Assistant Professor of Science Communication at the Alda Center and School of Journalism where she works on improving STEM communication to the public and engagement with the community. Christine was the Alda Center’s founding Associate Director where she worked to build the Center and its curriculum to international renown.

  • Lydia Franco-Hodges's picture

    Lydia Franco-Hodges, MFA

    Improvisation Lecturer

    Lydia Franco-Hodges, MFA, leads workshops for scientists throughout the country and around the world enhancing their communication skills through improvisation and theatre techniques. Lydia is an associate of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, a lecturer in the School of Journalism, and an actor and theatre-maker. As a member of the Alda Center creative team, she helps develop curricula and teaches the graduate courses at Stony Brook University. 

  • Elizabeth Bojsza's picture

    Elizabeth Bojsza, MFA

    Assistant Professor of Practice & Improvisation Lead

    As lead of the creative team of improvisation faculty, Elizabeth is working to innovate and build on the already strong foundational curricula of The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. She finds the skills of analysis and feedback she honed as a theatre artist directly applicable to facilitating experiential learning for scientists and medical professionals, and pulls from her over 15 years of academic and professional teaching and teaching mentorship to create powerful learning experiences for Alda Center workshop participants.

  • Brenda MacArthur's picture

    Brenda MacArthur, PhD

    Message Design Faculty

    ​Dr. Brenda MacArthur is Message Design Faculty and Health Communication Research Lead in the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. With a background in communication, health care, and curriculum design and assessment, Dr. MacArthur brings a unique perspective to designing and delivering evidence-based communication training for scientists and medical professionals. Much of Dr. MacArthur’s work is translational and centered on the intersection of health and instructional communication to improve the quality and continuity of health care for patients and improve health outcomes for patients and communities.

  • Nicole Leavey's picture

    Nicole Leavey, PhD

    Post-Doctoral Researcher, Gender in STEM

    Dr. Nicole J. Leavey is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.  She holds a Ph.D. in Technology, Policy and Innovation from Stony Brook University, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  Her research is interdisciplinary and focuses on the intersectionality of STEM, gender roles and social impact.  More specifically, Nicole’s research explores the impact of mentoring on female representation (within STEM disciplines) and program design in higher education environments.

  • 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.

  • spati's picture

    Susmita Pati, MD, MPH

    Chief Medical Program Advisor

    Susmita Pati, MD MPH is a nationally recognized physician-scientist and leader with expertise in population health analytics, innovation, and system transformation. Dr. Pati currently holds positions as a tenured Professor of Pediatrics, Division Chief of Primary Care Pediatrics, and Chair of the Professionalism Committee at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Children's Hospital.

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 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 also helps to manage the Alda Center's communications.

  • Dina Brennan's picture

    Dina Brennan

    Workshops Coordinator

    As part of the Stony Brook Undergraduate Admissions Office, Dina directed the Accelerated College Education (ACE) Program.  She coordinated the AP Summer Institutes, a College Board teacher training event at Stony Brook and Stony Brook Southampton.  She also coordinated a wide range of Admissions events from personal guidance counselor workshops to the annual campus-wide Open House. Now that she has joined the Alda Center, Dina is excited to bring her event planning experience to the Workshops Office.  

  • Nancee Moes's picture

    Nancee Moes, MFA

    Improvisation Instructor, Outreach Coordinator

    Nancee Moes is an Improvisation Instructor for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.  She teaches primarily undergraduate science students, pushing them to develop skills in presence, audience connection, and personal investment.  She is also the coordinator for The Flame Challenge 2018, an international competition that challenges scientists to explain a scientific question (e.g., "What is a flame?") to 11-year-olds around the world in accurate, entertaining, and interactive ways. 

  • Chris Bill's picture

    Chris Bill

    Communications 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.

  • Amanda Ng's picture

    Amanda Ng

    Research Assistant

    Amanda graduated from Stony Brook University in May 2017 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in English. As an undergraduate, she served as the Editor-In-Chief of Stony Brook Young Investigators Review (SBYIR), the undergraduate research journal, which sparked her interest in science communication. As Editor-In-Chief, Amanda worked closely with the Alda Center Team to publish undergraduate research and bring renowned scientists to campus, such as Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Dr. Arthur Horwich. As of August 2017, Amanda officially joined the Alda Center team as a Curriculum Design Assistant while working toward her Masters in Public Health.

  • cnechamkin's picture

    Charles Nechamkin

    Development Assistant

    Charles is currently pursuing a Masters degree in English at Stony Brook University with a focus on 20th century American literature. He earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing from SUNY Purchase and has a background in publishing and arts administration. His film and theatre work has appeared at Abrons Arts Center, the Mint Theater, and Anthology Film Archives.

  • James Vassallo's picture

    James Vassallo

    Curriculum & Events Assistant

    James graduated from Stony Brook University in May 2017, where he took on a number of leadership roles on campus working to improve student engagement and communication between the student body, faculty & staff. Currently, he is enrolled as a student in the Master’s in Public Health program at Stony Brook, where he serves as the President of the Graduate Student Organization. As of August 2018, James joined the Alda Center as a Graduate Assistant, to work towards improving communication in science and medicine through assisting in curriculum development and event planning.