Meet Our Instructors
Brown’s Pre-college online instructors are drawn from Brown faculty, graduate departments, and from colleges and universities around the country who share Brown's commitment to student-centered learning.
In addition, to enhance the level of engagement in the course your instructor may have recruited a teaching assistant, or TA. Brown University TAs are carefully selected based on their prior work with the instructor, advanced experience in the field, accolades and achievements, and their demonstrated investment in teaching.
Engineering & Design
Ian Gonsher is an artist, designer, and educator currently working in Providence, RI. He is on the faculty in the School of Engineering at Brown University, where his teaching and research focus on the creative process in practice. He is also the Associate Director of the Brown Creative Mind Initiative. Ian has degrees in Art History and Industrial Design from the University of Kansas, and also holds an MFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. His most recent work focuses on design strategies that blend creative practices across disciplines as a means of developing pedagogical strategies for teaching creative thinking.
Course: STEAM Design Studio
Dr. Karen Haberstroh
Dr. Karen M. Haberstroh is Director of STEM Outreach at Brown University. 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 various physical science fields. Dr. Haberstroh is the Director of STEM Outreach and an Assistant Professor of Research (Engineering) at Brown University.
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 a 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.
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 Ph.D. 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. 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, a Wheeler graduate from the Class of 2010 cloned and sequenced the housekeeping gene glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) from two different plant species. This work has been published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information GeneBank database.
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-semester curriculum in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He is a member of the curriculum committee of the medical school, was a member of the working group that redesigned the pre-clinical curriculum in 2004, and is a faculty reader for applicants to the medical school’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME). Dr. Ritter is part of a research team that is using a new imaging technique (XROMM) to study iguana rib movements during respiration.
Stephen Smith, MD, MPH
Dr. Stephen Smith is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and is Associate Dean Emeritus, a position he held for a quarter of a century. Dean Smith is internationally renowned for his work 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. More recently, he has developed a virtual practice for an international consortium of medical schools—the International Virtual Medical School (IVIMEDS).
Course: So You Want to Be a Doctor?
Writing & Media
Director of Writing Support Programs and Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of English, Douglas Brown earned a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University in 1984 and an M.A. in Creative Writing from City College in 1995. Over the last twelve years, he has taught a range of writing intensive courses at Rhode Island School of Design and Providence College, as well as in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown (2002-2007). As Director of Writing Support Programs, he heads up the Writing Center and the Writing Fellows Program. He is the 2006 recipient of the Brown Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2007 recipient of the Wilson-DeBlois Award for his work with graduate students. In addition to his academic interests, which include issues of writing pedagogy and assessment, he is a jazz guitarist.
Instructors for this course may vary to maintain small, writing workshop-style class sizes.
Course: Writing for College and Beyond
John Mulligan received his B.A. in English literature at Bates College, with a minor in mathematics. At Brown, where he is currently working towards his Ph.D., he has pursued his interdisciplinary interests in his dissertation, which traces the material and rhetorical interconnectedness of literature and science in English Romantic culture. He has previously presented work from this dissertation at ACLA and Brown's astronomy department, discussing questions of topology and the phenomenology of space in William Blake and Immanuel Kant, as well as the informationalization of knowledge work in Caroline Herschel and Dorothy Wordsworth.
Course: Storytelling in the Digital Age
Leadership & Entrepreneurship
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.
Joseph Ramos holds graduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering, Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship (PRIME), and International Public Health.
In 2010, Joseph co-founded Axena Technologies, a biotechnology start-up based in Providence, RI. That same year, Joseph developed an entrepreneurship course for high school students, which he teaches both during the summer and online throughout the year.