Eboney Hearn, Executive Director
Eboney Hearn joined the OEOP in 2016. As Executive Director she oversees the strategic implementation of outreach programs offered through the MIT School of Engineering, that focus on creating access for underrepresented and underserved students to science and engineering fields. Eboney believes OEOP students are highly talented and have incredible potential. She is passionate about leading programs that demystify both the college application process and what it is like to pursue a career in STEM. She works to offer students a boost of confidence to pursue their dreams.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Eboney served as Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, Diversity Initiatives at the MIT Office of Graduate Education from 2014-2016. Earlier, she was Program Director, Diversity Initiative at the Broad Institute from 2008-2014. In both roles she provided strategic direction, keen insight and coordination to increase student diversity and academic success at all academic levels. Prior to coming to MIT, Eboney taught mathematics at public middle- and high schools in Boston for five years. Before that, she was a manufacturing engineer at IBM, where she led several manufacturing processes in circuit board printing and co-patented a novel photolithography process.
Eboney holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and an Ed.M from Harvard University. Eboney is a member of the MIT Diversity Think Tank, the Diversity Advisory Committee of the Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the Steering Committee of the UMass Amherst Researchers, Educators, and Business Leaders Network. Outside of the office, Eboney enjoys being the mother of two active and curious preschoolers, spending quality time with family and friends, and traveling.
Reimi Hicks, Manager of Programs
Reimi Hicks joined the OEOP in 2015 as the Program Coordinator for the MITES Program. Now in her current role as the Manager of Programs, she oversees the implementation of the OEOP’s various outreach programs and manages relationships with internal and external partners that help support the OEOP’s mission and work. Inspired by her own academic experience, Reimi is passionate about creating spaces in which students can learn from and support each other as they navigate pursuing their interests in STEM fields.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Reimi served as the Program Manager for MdBio Foundation, where she developed, coordinated and evaluated the Foundation’s outreach initiatives. At MdBio Foundation, she engaged with high school and middle school students across the state of Maryland through project-based laboratory activities, summer camps, and career readiness events. Reimi earned her Sc.B. in Human Biology at Brown University and her M.S. in Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park. When Reimi is not working, she enjoys spending time with family, salsa dancing, and catching up on her favorite podcasts.
Faika Weche, Manager of Finance and Administration
Faika Weche joined the OEOP in August 2017. As Manager of Finance and Administration, she oversees the financial, human resources, and operational functions. Faika is passionate about working at the OEOP because it is an opportunity to contribute to such remarkable work that demonstrates the power of educational enrichment opportunities for underrepresented and underserved students.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Faika spent three years in the private sector in retirement services and most recently, worked as Program Coordinator within the department of Chemical Engineering coordinating the day-to-day finance and administration activities for an interdisciplinary research center. Faika holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Suffolk University, and a Master of Divinity at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Faika is a Boston native who in her spare time enjoys reading, binge watching tv shows, cooking, living out new and memorable experiences, and spending time with friends and family.
LaShauna Walker, Alumni Relations and Fundraising Officer
LaShauna Walker joined the OEOP in July 2021. As the Alumni Relations and Fundraising Officer she is responsible for managing the fundraising strategy for the OEOP, solicit donors to support our programs, and build and engage the OEOP community. Prior to joining the OEOP, LaShauna was Associate Director, Class Giving at the MIT Alumni Association. There she successfully managed reunion gift campaigns for the 30th, 35th, and 45th classes, setting new fundraising records and developing long-lasting relationships with volunteers. She also created a leadership-gift-level pipeline of donors. She is creative, has savvy fundraising skills and is committed to creating meaningful volunteer experiences. She holds an Associate degree from Roxbury Community College and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Adriana Espinal, MITES Program Administrator
Adriana Espinal joined the OEOP in June 2018. As MITES program administrator, she is responsible for the planning and execution of the summer program including logistics, training and managing summer staff members, overall student well-being, and ensuring the program runs smoothly. She coordinates with students, parents, and various stakeholders across MIT’s campus and beyond. Adriana is excited to work for the OEOP to help our students pursue their dreams and realize their full potential.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Adriana worked for a global chemical manufacturing company in Freeport, Texas where she managed the environmental regulatory compliance of several manufacturing plants. She also led the creation of a mentoring program for female employees of the company in an effort to bridge the gender gap within the site. Adriana holds a Bachelor’s of Science in environmental engineering from the University of Florida (Go Gators!). Adriana’s passions include exploring the outdoors, traveling to new places, being involved in the local church, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Lynsey Ford, SEED Program Administrator
Lynsey Ford joined the OEOP in February 2021. As Program Administrator for SEED, she is responsible for the planning and execution of the multi-year program including logistics, student and staff well-being, training and management, and fostering relationships with families and schools in the Boston, Cambridge, and Lawrence Area. Lynsey is deeply passionate about FUN science education and diversity in STEM. She is thrilled to support OEOP’s mission and programs.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Lynsey worked as the Manager of Engaged Scholarship at the Brown University Swearer Center. In this role, Lynsey designed programming for undergraduates to utilize their academic knowledge as a tool for social change and develop skills for equitable work with diverse communities. Lynsey holds a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering from Brown University. In her free time, she enjoys acting, science fiction, DND, and cake decorating!
Annie Grant, MOSTEC Program Administrator
Annie Grant joined the OEOP in October 2018. As the Program Administrator for MOSTEC, she is responsible for the planning and execution of the six-month online program. This includes but is not limited to organizing logistics for the in-person summer conference, designing and implementing weekly webinars and online events, training and managing staff members, and fostering relationships with and among students. Additionally, Annie leads the student selection process for MITES and MOSTEC. Annie is passionate about her work with the OEOP because representation matters; in order to diversify STEM, we must ensure our programs are accessible to all students.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Annie began her teaching career as a 2011 Teach For America corps member in Memphis, Tennessee. She spent six years teaching elementary and middle school science in both urban and rural communities across Tennessee. During this time Annie also spearheaded several environmental and STEM outreach initiatives aimed at making outreach efforts more inclusive and accessible for all students. Annie holds a BA in Gender and Sexuality studies from the University of Virginia and a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from East Tennessee State University. In her free time, Annie enjoys exploring the outdoors, creating vegan recipes, and relaxing with family, friends, and her dog, Douglas.
Gabrielle Ballard, Program Assistant (MITES and MOSTEC)
Gabrielle Ballard joined the OEOP in July, 2019. As a program assistant, she helps with the daily tasks needed to implement the Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) and MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC) programs. She believes that all students should have access to high quality education in a variety of fields, including STEM and humanities, and she is excited to provide support in the implementation of educational programs that expand this access.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Gabby was studying for her, B.S in Engineering and Humanities from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she concentrated her studies in Anthropology, Computer Science, and Education. She also trained as a healthy relationship and relationship empowerment educator and worked in the Admissions Office and Women & Gender Studies Office. She spends much of her free time enjoying the company of friends and family, cooking and eating delicious food, and dancing to fun, upbeat music.
Ronald Pannell II, Program Assistant (SEED)
Ron Pannell joined the OEOP in September of 2018. As the Program Assistant for Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery Academy (SEED Academy), Ron supports the daily and long-term functions of the program, which include scheduling, recruitment, and stakeholder engagement. He is extremely excited to carry out the mission of the SEED Academy to empower students from underserved and underrepresented populations. He believes education is the key to upward mobility and financial security.
Before joining the OEOP, Ron worked in various educational offices such as the Office of Student Engagement, the Registrar, and the International Education Programs. Ron holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Public Administration. In Ron’s free time, he enjoys taking advantage of the diversity of local events.
Dora Gonzalez, Communications Administrator
Dora Gonzalez joined the OEOP in May of 2019. As Communications Administrator she creates content and strategies to increase brand awareness and stakeholder engagement, and leads social media and content marketing campaigns to help generate support for OEOP programs. She believes that equal opportunities for all will lead to more sustainable communities across the globe.
Prior to joining the OEOP, she was Senior Associate at strategic communications firm Sharon Merrill Associates where she counseled public and private companies on investor relations and public relations issues including corporate messaging, media relations planning and execution, digital communications, social media campaign strategies, internal communications, and event planning. At the agency, Dora won an American Business Award for Best Twitter Feed and two Stevie Awards for Women in Business for the firm. Earlier, Dora spent seven years as a business journalist at Grupo Reforma, a top online and print media conglomerate in Mexico, covering education, technology, biotech and healthcare, and startup ecosystems. Dora holds a M.A. in Communication Management from Emerson College and a B.A. in Journalism and Media Studies from Monterrey Institute of Technology in Monterrey. She volunteers as Community Advisory Board Member for 88.9 WERS. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, working on art and crafts projects, and exploring the food and music scenes in Boston.
Carissa Leal, Senior Administrative Assistant
Carissa Leal joined the OEOP in June 2021. As Senior Administrative Assistant she is responsible for the hidden mechanics that keep the office running at top speed. She’s the first person you’ll see if you come into the office and can help you navigate your way around the OEOP and MIT. Prior to joining the OEOP, Carissa worked in various other administrative support positions including, Simmons University, MIT Office for Mechanical Engineering (MEng), the MIT Sloan School of Business, The Broad Institute and The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. She has a deep understanding of the workings of an academic program, including philanthropy, working with students, developing operational systems and navigating institutional structures.
Carissa holds a BA in Literature with a focus on Medieval Studies and Theater from Saint Michael’s College, VT and an MLA from Harvard University’s School of Extension Studies in Literature focusing on post-postmodernism. She is a creative hobbyist and enjoys drawing, painting, woodworking, knitting, sewing and cooking.
Laura Beretsky, Grant Writer
Laura Beretsky joined the OEOP in March 2019. As Grant Writer she is responsible for raising money, writing proposals, and researching/cultivating new institutional donors. Originally from New York City, Laura has over 20 years of development and fundraising experience.
Prior to joining the OEOP, Laura provided development consulting and grant writing for out-of-school time and after-school programs for Boston and Cambridge-based nonprofits since 2015. Laura also served as a parent representative on the West Somerville Neighborhood School’s Improvement Council from 2015-2018, where she played an active role developing the school’s Improvement Plan, and writing grants for the school. These professional and volunteer experiences provided her with insight about the critical role after/out-of-school time programming plays in increasing academic and economic success for under-resourced youth. Laura has a Communications degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, writing, and spending time with her family.
Cardinal Warde, Faculty Director
Professor Cardinal Warde is the Faculty Director of the OEOP. His main responsibility is the intellectual content of the programs offered by the OEOP. He is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and is one of the world’s leading experts on materials, devices and systems for optical information processing and displays. Professor Warde's current research activities are centered on the development of: compact optoelectronic neural network co-processors for brain-like computing, light modulators and projection displays based on micro-electro-mechanical systems, and high-resolution, adaptive, wavefront-phase compensation systems for imaging and optical communications. He is the co-editor of one book, and the co-author of three book chapters on optical materials and devices. In addition to publishing over one-hundred-fifty technical papers in these fields, he is the holder of twelve patents on spatial light modulators, displays and optical information processing systems.
Professor Warde is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, and a former Associate Editor of the Journal of Display Technology. Currently, he serves voluntarily as the Interim Executive Director of the Caribbean Science Foundation which runs the Student Program for Innovation in Science and Engineering (SPISE). SPISE is a program for gifted Caribbean students interested in pursuing careers in science and engineering. He also serves as a pro-bono scientific advisor to the Government of Barbados, as well as on the boards of a number of high-technology companies in the US.