Pre-College Online: Meet Our Instructors
Brown’s pre-college online instructors are drawn from Brown faculty, graduate departments, and colleges and universities around the country who share Brown's commitment to student-centered learning.
To enhance the level of engagement in your course, your instructor may have recruited a teaching associate (TA). Brown University TAs are carefully selected based on their prior work with the instructor, advanced experience in the field, accolades and achievements, and demonstrated investment in teaching.
Carlos Aizenman is Associate Professor of Neuroscience in Brown's Neuroscience Department, where his research aims to understand the role of sensory experience in shaping the connectivity and functional properties of developing neural circuits, as well as its implications for neurodevelopmental disorders. He focuses on on the visual system of Xenopus laevis tadpoles, a preparation amenable to a variety of experimental approaches, ranging from molecular biology, single-cell electrophysiology, live cell imaging, computational modeling, and behavior. Carlos' interest in neuroscience began as an undergraduate at Brown, where he worked in visual cortical synaptic plasticity in the laboratory of Mark Bear. As a PhD student, he studied plasticity of inhibitory inputs and of intrinsic excitability of deep-cerebellar nuclear neurons. His postdoctoral work combined his interest in the visual system with his interest in the regulation of neural excitability, work that continues in his current lab. Dr. Aizenman was recently honored with a Teaching with Technology Award by the Dean of the College.
Christopher Carr is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages at Brown, where he works on 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature and film. Both his interests in Russian and in teaching developed during his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan from 1999-2001, after which he earned an MA in Russian from Middlebury College in 2004. Prior to his graduate studies at Brown, Chris worked as an Adjunct Instructor of English and as a Writing Tutor at several colleges back home in New York City from 2007-2009. During this time, he taught a wide range of writing classes, from Developmental Writing to First-Year Composition to Introduction to Literature, as well as a writing class for adult learners. As a graduate student at Brown, he has taught First- and Second-Year Russian and has served as a Teaching Assistant for several Russian literature and history courses. Additionally, Chris has worked as a Writing Associate at Brown's Writing Center for the past four years and as a Special Lecturer in English at Providence College, where he teaches a Freshman Writing Seminar on the conventions of academic essay writing using the themes of freedom and disobedience. Summer 2015 will be his third summer as a Writing Instructor in Brown's Pre-College Intensive English Program and his second teaching Writing for College and Beyond online.
Course: Writing for College and Beyond
Dr. Stephen Foley
Dr. Stephen Foley has taught English and Comparative Literature at Brown since 1982. He always has been interested in how words relate people to places, from Catullus's shimmering poem on the Sirmione peninsula, where he liked to spend the summer and sail his boat, to the outer and inner worlds of Pico Iyer's Journeys website, and the vast discourse on travel that is springing up across the web and changing from day to day.
Professor Foley attended Brown and majored in Classics and English. He holds graduate degrees in English from Yale, where he taught before returning to Providence. He has published work on Renaissance literature, and has served several times as chair of the Department of English.
Khristina Gonzalez is the Associate Director of the Writing Center at Princeton University and a lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program, where she teaches first-year seminars designed to help freshman transition to college-level reading, thinking, and writing. Khristina earned her BA in English from Dartmouth College in 2004, her MA in Medieval Literature from the University of Notre Dame in 2006, and her PhD in English Literature in 2012 from Brown University. Over the past nine years, Khristina has taught a wide variety of literature, composition, and popular culture courses. She has worked with learners of all backgrounds—including high school students, college undergraduates and graduate students, native speakers and ESOL learners—teaching them to use the conventions of academic writing to develop and convey their own, innovative ideas. Khristina’s own writing focuses on 19th-century English literature and culture, and she holds particular interests in the Victorian novel, literary monsters, and all kinds of zombie and vampire books, movies, and television shows.
Course: Writing for College and Beyond
Rachel Gostenhofer is Visiting Assistant Professor in Brown's Department of History. Her PhD dissertation, On the Pursuit of Priority in Enlightenment Paris, completed at Brown in January 2016, centered on the history of intellectual property and scientific innovation in eighteenth-century France. At Brown, she also serves as a writing consultant for two Deans of the College, has worked for four years at the University’s Writing Center, and has taught Writing for College and Beyond for Brown University's Pre-College Programs.
Dr. Karen Haberstroh
Dr. Karen M. Haberstroh is Lecturer in Engineering and Associate Director of Engineering Programs for Brown University’s School of Professional Studies. Dr. Haberstroh’s research addresses the use of novel nano-structured polymeric materials in soft tissue engineering applications. In addition to her research accomplishments, Dr. Haberstroh is dedicated to engineering and science education, and especially focuses on novel methods of education geared toward increasing the percentages of females and minorities in math, science, and engineering fields.
Colleen Hitchcock is an Assistant Professor of Ecology in the Biology Department at Brandeis University. Dr. Hitchcock uses citizen science research projects in her courses to foster student engagement with the natural world and provide opportunities for collaborative science research by undergraduates.
Dr. Hitchcock's field research has focused on the protective coloration of caterpillars from visually-orienting predators in forest and old field habitats. This work also examined caterpillar mimicry complexes involving the monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) and the field-testing of predator-free space on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). At present, her interests are also focused on the role of citizen scientists in ecological inquiry and conservation biology specifically relating to studies of phenology and climate change.
Indrek Külaots' research involves several research branches with a unifying theme – energy, and its impact to the environment. In 1995, Dr. Külaots completed the requirements for an MS degree in Thermal Engineering at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, and was appointed Lecturer at the same university. In 1997, he enrolled in the PhD program of the School of Engineering at Brown University, where he received a MS degree in Applied Mathematics in 2000 and a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering in 2001. After receiving his PhD, Dr. Külaots continued his research and teaching career at his alma mater, first as a Senior Research Engineer and later as a Lecturer. Read more about Dr. Külaots' recent research.
Dr. Donna Lizotte
Dr. Donna Lizotte holds a PhD from Brown University in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry (MCB). She teaches a variety of science courses at Brown, including “Research Techniques in Biomedical Sciences.” As a member of the Science faculty, Donna also teaches Biology and Molecular Biology courses at The Wheeler School, an independent day school in Providence. Under Donna’s direction, Wheeler students have participated in a number of research projects. Projects have included cloning the housekeeping gene glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) from two different plant species, work that been published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information GeneBank database. In addition, several DNA barcoding projects have been used to characterize and identify several different species of organisms.
Dr. Minh A. Luong
Dr. Minh A. Luong has served as an adjunct faculty member in public policy, international relations, and political science at Brown University where his courses include Great Powers and Empires; Global Security After the Cold War; US National Security Policy; Privacy in Networked Societies; Crisis Management; Mediation, Negotiation, and Arbitration Strategies; Advanced Management and Organizational Strategies; and Black Markets, Governance, and the Global Economy.
He recently retired as the Founder and Director of the Ivy Scholars Program for High School Student Leaders held each summer at Yale University, where he also served at the Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, Assistant Director of International Security Studies, and Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management.
A former national champion college debater and coach, Dr. Luong has spent the past two decades developing leadership and advocacy programs at institutions such as Brown University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, Yale University, and the United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR) as well as for numerous corporate clients, U.S. government agencies, and partner nations. He frequently speaks to high school, college, industry, and government audiences.
John Mulligan received his PhD in English Literature from Brown University in May, 2015. He currently teaches and researches at Rice University's Humanities Research Center, under a Mellon grant in the public humanities. John's research focuses on the intersections of literature, art, science, and technology in the nineteenth century, and informally pursues work in the digital humanities, from programming interactive art projects to analyzing large data sets. John has taught college-level literature courses at Brown, the University of Rhode Island, and Rice University in Houston. He previously has presented his interdisciplinary work at ACLA, Brown's astronomy department, RISD, and NAVSA. You can view some of John's critical work and digital projects on his blog.
Course: Storytelling in the Digital Age
Joseph Ramos holds graduate degrees from Brown University in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (PRIME) and Biomedical Engineering. In 2010, Joseph co-founded Axena Technologies, a biotechnology start-up based in Providence, Rhode Island. That same year, Joseph developed an entrepreneurship course for high school students. He has taught through Brown’s Pre-College Programs, both on campus and online. Joseph currently lives in California where he works for a large biotechnology company.
Molly Rice is a playwright, songwriter, and experience designer who gravitates toward offbeat musicality, multi-genre/multimedia collaborations, and site-specificity. Her plays have been developed/produced at New York City theaters including the Public, Playwrights Horizons, and Rattlestick, and regional and experimental theaters including ART (Cambridge, MA), Montana Rep, and Salvage Vanguard. She’s been published by American Theater Magazine, Heinemann Press, Kenyon Review, Austin Chronicle, Play: A Journal, and Indie Theater Now, and commissioned by NYU/ Tisch Graduate Acting, Visible Theater, The Drilling Company, and Montclair State University. Honors: International Women’s Playwriting Festival, New York Innovative Theater Awards (nomination), Brown’s Weston Prize For Graduate Playwriting. Current project: The Saints Tour, a site-specific play seen in Louisville, NYC, and Pittsburgh, featuring scores of local artists, residents, and community organizations. Molly has taught at Brown, Kenyon College, Marymount Manhattan, Montclair State, and Pace University. MFA: Brown University, 2006.
Course: Writing for College and Beyond
Dr. Dale Ritter
Dr. Dale Ritter has served for over ten years as the course director for Human Anatomy, which is part of the first-year curriculum in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He is a member of the curriculum committee and the medical committee on academic standing at the medical school, and is an academic advisor for first- and second-year undergraduates who are pursuing careers in the health sciences.
Joel Simundich is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English at Brown University. At Brown, he has taught several courses on the personal essay and on writing in academic contexts for undergraduates as well as rising high school students. For the past five years, he has served as a Writing Associate at the Brown University Writing Center. Before coming to Brown, he received his BA at the Harriet Wilkes Honors College in Jupiter, Florida, and his MA in English at the University of Florida, where he taught a number of courses on technical writing and the elements of composition and rhetoric. His writing focuses on representations of disability and feeling in the Victorian novel.
Course: Writing for College and Beyond
Stephen Smith, MD, MPH
Stephen R. Smith, MD, MPH is professor emeritus of family medicine and former associate dean for medical education at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Smith earned an international reputation for innovation in medical education. He was the architect of the competency-based curriculum at Brown that has been replicated at many medical schools around the world. Since his retirement, he has been working part-time in the community health center in his hometown of New London, Connecticut. He also served as the principal investigator of a project to promote good stewardship in primary care that has since grown into the Choosing Wisely campaign. He earned his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1972 and his master of public health degree from the University of Rochester in 1977.
Course: So You Want to Be a Doctor?
Keith Spangler is a PhD student in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences at Brown University. His research looks at how climatic variability affects agricultural decision-making in rain-fed systems and, more broadly, how climate change poses risks to, and opportunities for, food security. This work builds upon the themes of his undergraduate work in global environmental change and sustainability at Johns Hopkins, which analyzed linkages between climate, land use, and well-being. Keith is affiliated with the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES) and the Brazil Initiative at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
Dr. Elizabeth Taylor
Dr. Elizabeth S. Taylor is Co-Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program in the Department of English at Brown University. She earned her PhD in American Literature from Brown, then taught at Harvard for five years before returning to Brown in 1994. She teaches creative nonfiction -- personal and academic essay, literary journalism, historical narrative, and memoir. She has published essays about the teaching of nonfiction and about the Vietnam War era on her blog, Writing by Beth Taylor. Her most recent book is The Plain Language of Love and Loss: A Quaker Memoir. She has a particular interest in mentoring students interested in all forms of nonfiction writing.
Course: Flash Nonfiction