Our Team



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 over 20 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.
JEFF FREILICH

Jeff trained as a mechanical engineer and has worked in the high-tech industry for over 25 years in roles ranging from R&D and engineering product management to partnerships and business development. He’s been at MIT for over ten years managing portfolios of corporate relationships at MIT, but now focuses primarily on developing educational technology for the workforce, especially through online courses. He loves jazz, dogs, New England style India pale ales, though not necessarily in that order.
SUSAN LANE

Susan Rati Lane has been a software engineer since 1996, and she has followed an eclectic career through many industries and locations in the western world. Her core expertise is in data modeling, but shes done some of almost everything. Career highlights include work in software support for brain imaging and clinical drug trials. She joined the MIT App Inventor team in 2018. She is passionate about writing software that improves lives.
Li Li

Li has been a software engineer since 2001. Before she joined MIT App Inventor team, she had been with Oracle working on a variety of projects including IT Analytics in Oracle Management Cloud and Oracle Application Testing Suite.
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.
EVAN PATTON

Evan is the Lead Developer 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.
SELIM TEZEL

Selim joined the App Inventor team in 2018 as a curriculum developer. He is a former K-12 mathematics teacher who has taught overseas and in the US for 22 years, exploring intersections of technology and playful constructionist pedagogies in the classroom. Recently he worked on the Beauty and joy of Computing project as a curriculum designer at EDC (Education Development Center) which in collaboration with UC Berkeley and NYC Public Schools aims to make computer science accessible and enjoyable for a diverse population of students. When not working Selim enjoys playwriting and creating visual arts.
Visiting Faculty
TING-CHIA HSU (CHING-KUN HSU)

Ting-Chia Hsu (also known as Ching-Kun Hsu) Distinguished Professor in the Department of Technology Application and Human Resource Development in National Taiwan Normal University. Her research interests include computer-assisted learning and educational technology. Dr. Hsu has published more than twenty journal papers. She was awarded a government scholarship by the Taiwan Ministry of Education to conduct project research abroad in 2011. She also received the National Science Council Recruiting Special Outstanding Talent Award in Taiwan in 2013. She is a recipient of National Taiwan Normal University Academic Excellence Awards from 2014 to 2016, and from 2017 to 2019.
Advisors
JOSE DOMINGUEZ

Jos 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, Jos continues to participate in the project by mentoring students in programs such as Facebook Open Academy and Google Summer of Code.
MARK FRIEDMAN

Mark is the V.P. of Engineering at Thunkable, a spinoff of the App Inventor project. Previously, Mark was at Google and led the original App Inventor project there. He has long-standing interests in making programming easier, in the democratization of technology and in the uses of technology in education.
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 MITs 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 Projects 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
NIKHIL BHATIA

Nikhil is a Masters student at MIT concentrating in Artificial Intelligence. He joined the App Inventor team in 2019 and is working on a building a personal audio classifier that brings transfer learning and App Inventor together to provide a unique learning tool for students. He has previously UROPed in the Network Mobile Systems lab, and has interned as a software engineer at Apple, Twitch, and Citadel. He is excited to join the App Inventor team and to work at the intersection of machine learning and education!
MURIELLE DUNAND

Murielle is a current senior at MIT studying Computer Science. She first joined the team Summer 2019 to design curriculum for the AppInventor AI suite. She has previously worked at the intersection of coding and education, and will be participating in various AppInventor education initiatives abroad.
TOMMY HENG

Tommy is currently a sophomore at MIT studying 6-3, Computer Science. He joined the App Inventor team during Fall 2018. He worked with Jessica on research integrating Voice User Interfaces (e.g. Amazon's Alexa) with App Inventor's block based programming paradigm. Currently, he is working on curriculum to be used with various App Inventor education initiatives abroad, including GTL Brazil (IAP 2020).
NATALIE LAO

Natalie is a PhD student at MIT majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. For her Masters of Engineering thesis, she created the CloudDB block set for data sharing in App Inventor. She first joined the App Inventor team in January 2016 on the Hong Kong CoolThink project. She has previously taught high school STEM courses in Barcelona, interned at Apple as an Engineering Program Manager, 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.
VIKTORIYA TABUNSHCHYK

Vik is a sophomore at MIT studying Computer Science. She joined the App Inventor team fall of 2019 and is working on the iOS version of the AICompanion app. Vik loves sharing her excitement for all things computer science and has helped lead multiple App Inventor workshops for middle schoolers! She has also teamed up with Tommy and Murielle to put together a short curriculum for GTL Brazil (IAP 2020), where they will be leading two 2-week workshops for college and high school students.
JESSICA VAN BRUMMELEN

Jessica is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science PhD student at MIT aiming to empower young learners with technology to solve real world problems. For her master’s thesis, she developed an interface in MIT App Inventor to enable nearly anyone—including 9-12th grade workshop attendees—to develop conversational agents. During her undergrad, she taught visual programming skills to middle school students, developed micro-drone workshops for undergraduates, tutored students in computer science, and researched and developed autonomous vehicle technology. For her PhD, she is developing voice-first, conversational artificial intelligence tools to allow anyone to create his or her own interconnected, intelligent systems through natural language programming. She believes that given the right tools, knowledge and skills, anyone can create significant positive change in his or her community.
LILIAN WANG

Lilian is a sophomore at MIT studying Computer Science. This past summer, she interned in Hong Kong and worked on an App Inventor-based project, using React and Cypress for E2E testing. She is passionate about using CS to create impact, in this case being able to teach kids how to code with App Inventor, and hopes to continue this line of work through this UROP.​
KEVIN WENG

Kevin is currently a EECS graduate student at MIT. He joined the App Inventor team in the Fall of 2019 and is currently working on creating a voice-based conversational programming system to empower more people to learn and program. He previously interned as a software engineer at Nasdaq, Rev, Redfin and Microsoft. Kevin hopes to give more people the opportunity to learn and use technology.
CATHERINE YEO

Catherine is a sophomore at Harvard studying Computer Science. She joined the App Inventor team in Fall 2019 and is working with conversational AI and voice programming systems. Previously, she has interned at Apple and Khan Academy. She is passionate about using technology to improve CS & math education and is especially excited to be on the team because App Inventor was how she learned computer programming!
Alumni
2019
Obada Alkhatib
Kelsey Chan
Nichole Clarke
Kendall Garner
Danny Tang
Mary Zhong
Kevin Zhu

2018 Luis Gutierrez
Kathryn Hendrickson
Meredith Julian
Skyler Kaufman
Helen Li
Lucy Li
Tammam Mustafa
Katherine Prutz
Lisa Ruan
Linda Tang
Katherine Wang
Wen Xi
Joy Yu
Erica Yuen

2017 Graeme Campbell
Xinyue Deng
Emily Giurleo
Zoe Gong
Divya Gopinath
Arjun Gupta
Jane Im
Bennett Nestok
Jennifer Switzer

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