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.
ROBERT PARKS

Robert is a curriculum developer, writer, and designer for the App Inventor team. His 2005 publication, Makers, was the first book about the maker movement. He has served as an editor at Wired magazine, as a contributing writer for Wired, Popular Science, and Make magazines, and has designed STEM resources for middle and high school students at the WGBH Educational Foundation. A maker himself, Robert is currently building a tennis-ball launcher from old treadmill parts.
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.
CYNTHIA ROSENTHAL

Cindy is the Administrative Assistant for the App Inventor Group. Before coming to CSAIL she worked in the libraries at MIT. She has also worked for a tax and audit firm, an architectural firm, and Suffolk University Law School. In her spare time she takes pictures of houses and thinks about baking bread.
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 is the Education Team Lead at the App Inventor project. He joined the 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.
ANGIE ZHOU

Angie is an Education Specialist at the App Inventor team. She has extensive experience in curriculum design, teaching and business development. Angie hopes to design fun and inspiring learning experiences and programs. Prior to joining the App Inventor team, Angie was running her company and teaching kids coding since 2014. Angie is very curious to learn about how everything works and the latest development in business and technology. She loves learning things by watching videos. Angie graduated with a degree in engineering from the University of Cambridge.
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.
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.
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
MURIELLE DUNAND

Murielle is a Master's student concentrating on curricula. She joined the lab as an undergraduate and has made video tutorials for the App Inventor YouTube channel as well as teamed up with other students to work the GTL Brazil course with App Inventor. She is currently developing ways to make apps that are created by App Inventor more visually accessible, as well as a high-school curriculum for these changes.
TOMMY HENG

Tommy is a current Junior at MIT studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He first joined the App Inventor team Fall 2018, working with Jessica integrating an experimental Conversational AI interface with App Inventor's block based programming paradigm. Currently, he is developing curricula and giving workshops which take advantage of the new Conversational AI interface.
MAHMOUD KHALIFA

Mahmoud is a sophomore at MIT studying Computer Science, Data Science, and Economics and Applied Math. He joined the App Inventor team in the summer of 2020 and is working on a conversational AI agent that enables voice-based programming. He is interested in the design and analysis of algorithms and applying computer science to make an impact.
JIMIN LEE

Jimin is a freshman at MIT studying Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and joined the App Inventor team in Fall 2020. She has previous experiences working with coding and education and currently works with the team on the intersection of both fields through various App Inventor developments and initiatives. Her passion in creating impact with applications of science will continue its expression at App Inventor.
NOAH RABY

Noah is a current sophomore at MIT studying EECS. He joined the App Inventor team in the fall of 2020 and is currently working under Natalie Lao to expand App Inventor's machine learning capabilities on both the technical and education fronts by expanding the Personal Image Classifier and Personal Audio Classifier extensions. He is happy to give back to the project that helped his own CS education just a few short years ago.
VIKTORIYA TABUNSHCHYK

Vik is a junior 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 also teamed up with Tommy and Murielle to put together a short curriculum for GTL Brazil (IAP 2020), where they led a two 2-week workshops for college and high school students.
MINGYAN (CLAIRE) TIAN

Mingyan is a current sophomore at Wellesley studying Computer Science and Mathematics. She was introduced to App Inventor in her freshman year when she was working with Professor Franklyn Turbak’s Tinkerblocks team at Wellesley, where she tested & launched the online Venbrace Syntax User Study. In Summer 2020, she joined the MIT App Inventor team. She created projects that use the Handpose component and integrated AI concepts. Currently, she is working on developing a sentiment analysis extension that uses Naive Bayes classifiers and integrating it with conversational AI agents.
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 junior at MIT studying Computer Science. Two summers ago, she interned in Hong Kong and worked on an App Inventor-based project, using React and Cypress for E2E testing. Since then, she has been working with the App Inventor team! She is passionate about using CS to create impact, and has been doing so both through workshops and working on the app itself. She hopes to continue this line of work at App Inventor and beyond.
JOY YU

Joy is a Masters student concentrating in Artificial Intelligence. She first joined app inventor in 2018 as an undergrad to work on the iOS version of app inventor. She recently returned to MIT and is now working on building a tool that identifies facial landmarks. She hopes that users will create their own facial filters and have lots of fun with them! She has previously interned at Google on the ads team and Chrome team.
JESSICA ZHU

Jessica is an MEng student at MIT, who joined MIT App Inventor in Fall 2020. In the past, Jessica has completed software engineering internships at Google, Rev, Airbnb, and Samsara. She is currently working on implementing and investigating the effects of an unconstrained natural language model on the effectiveness of a conversational AI agent. She hopes that such a system can empower more students to create programs through conversation and lower the barrier to entry for communication with an AI. Jessica is passionate about teaching others, and she wants to provide the next generation with the tools to derive solutions to problems in their communities and lives.
Alumni
2020
Nikhil Bhatia
Natalie Lao
Kevin Weng
Catherine Yeo

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