Advisory Group

Advisory groups will provide a written summary of structured feedback on finalist candidates based on the criteria in the Presidential Position Specification. This input will be considered by the search committee as it works to recommend a final slate of candidates to the Board of Trustees in early fall.  

Location: Boynton Hall
Office Location: 3rd Floor
Phone: 508-831-5305

Michael Abrams ’77

Mike Abrams ’77, mathematics, received his MS in electrical engineering from the University of Houston. He is retired from a career designing seismic data acquisition systems used in the exploration for oil and gas. A current member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Lifetime Engagement, he was the 2022 recipient of the Taylor Award for Distinguished Service to WPI. 

Veda Booth ’18

Veda Booth ’18, electrical and computer engineering, began working in the defense contracting industry upon graduation from WPI. She now works as a marketing operations associate at Goldman Sachs. She is co-president of the WPI Alumni of Color Association, an organization she co-founded. She is also a member of the WPI Alumni Association. Her passion is furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on campus and providing support to WPI students during their time at WPI and in their post-collegiate careers.

Drew Brodeur, Teaching Professor

Drew Brodeur, teaching professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, joined WPI in 2010. He teaches a variety of undergraduate courses, advises MQPs, and has been extensively involved in curriculum development. A longtime Insight Advisor, he is passionate about positive student experiences at WPI, striving to promote an affirming and fun environment in which the most effective learning can occur. He is a member of the Pre-Health Advising Committee, the Goat’s Head Committee, and inaugural chair of the Committee on Teaching and Research Faculty. He received his BA in French Language and Literature, his BS in Chemical Engineering, and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island. His research focused on chemical sensors for explosives as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence for Explosives Detection, Mitigation, and Response. 

Crystal H. Brown, Assistant Professor

Crystal H. Brown, assistant professor of political science in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies (SSPS), earned her PhD in political science with a focus in the subfields of comparative politics, international relations, and public policy at the University of Oregon. She also has a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Pennsylvania State University. Her areas of interest include comparative public policies; international security studies; human rights; race, ethnicity, and politics; women and gender studies; and mixed research methods. She is most interested in the effect of politics and policy on marginalized groups and individuals. Brown was a Fulbright Schuman Scholar (2017-18) in Denmark and Sweden, researching the impact of integration policies on immigrants. 

Kathy Chen, Executive Director, STEM Education Center

Kathy Chen, executive director of the STEM Education Center, joined WPI in August 2017. She received her PhD in Materials Science from MIT and was a Professor and Department Chair of Materials Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her scholarship in engineering education and her passion for equity & inclusion in education led her to her current role in developing and supporting PreK-12 educators in STEM as a way to broaden the participation in STEM. She also facilitates mentor trainings for inclusive lab environments and assists WPI faculty with the broader impacts of their grants to bring value to the local community. 

Jeanine Dudle, Associate Professor

Jeanine Dudle, associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, joined WPI in 1999. She received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her teaching and research interests are in water quality, drinking water treatment, and public health. She has received numerous teaching awards, including Professor of the Year for Massachusetts from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the WPI Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching. She co-directs WPI’s Community Climate Adaptation graduate program and she serves on the Board of Directors of the American Water Works Association. 

Maya Ellis ’23, Undergraduate Student

Maya Ellis 23 is a BS/MS student (Electrical and Computer Engineering/Systems Engineering). Passionate about increased diversity and advocacy for BIPOC in STEM, she is the current president of the National Society of Black Engineers, involved with the Mental Health Implementation Team (academics section), and is a program ambassador for the Connections Program. She also works in the Systems Modeling and Engineering Research Laboratory and the WPI Business School. She earned Honorable Mention for the 2022 Two Towers Prize. 

Michael Elmes, Professor

Michael Elmes, professor in The Business School, teaches leading change, organizational behavior, and leadership ethics. He received his PhD from Syracuse University in 1989 and has been at WPI since 1990. He was a Fulbright Scholar to New Zealand in 2005 and co-founded the Wellington New Zealand Project Center in 2010. Elmes’s research has focused on organizational change, learning in the organizational behavior classroom, dissent and learning in organizations, team dynamics in extreme environments, discourse and narrative in environmental management and strategy, enterprise system implementation, and social entrepreneurship and food security in the U.S. In 2022 he was awarded the WPI Chairman’s Exemplary Faculty Prize for excelling in faculty performance, including teaching, research and scholarship, and advising. 

Michael S. Horan, Executive VP, CFO

Mike Horan, Ed.D, CPA, is the executive vice president and CFO at WPI. He oversees a team responsible for accounting, finance, financial planning and analysis, operations, campus facilities and planning, campus police, and information technology at WPI. He also serves as the university’s chief investment officer. WPI has an annual budget of more than $250 million, an endowment of $600 million, employs about 1,200 faculty and staff, serves about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and operates a 95-acre campus plus additional facilities in the region. 

Jianyu Liang, Professor

Jianyu Liang is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, with affiliated appointments in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Fire Protection Engineering. She received her PhD from Brown University before joining the WPI faculty 18 years ago. Her research work on nanomaterials, additive manufacturing, agile manufacturing, machine learning for materials science and manufacturing, and sustainability has been funded by NSF, NASA, DoD, ED, and industry. As the founder and director of WPI’s Beijing Project Center, Liang has championed WPI’s effort to establish institutional partnerships with strategically selected leading universities in China. As an educator, Liang strives to equip students with the confidence, enthusiasm, knowledge, and skills to allow them to enjoy learning throughout their lives. 

John Marczewski ’85, Parent ’23

John Marczewski ’85, electrical engineering, is also a WPI parent looking forward to his daughter’s graduation in 2023. He has a Master of Engineering degree in Electric Power from RPI and has more than 36 years of experience in the electric power industry, including co-founding Energy Initiatives Group (EIG), a consultancy focused in the electric power sector. He is currently an Executive Consultant with EN Engineering which acquired EIG in 2017. In addition to his consulting work, he is also an advisor to the WPI Tech Advisors Network and I-Corps program and has served as a leader in his fraternity's (Theta Chi) alumni association as well as the WPI Greek Alumni Council. 

John McNeill, Dean and Professor

John McNeill, WPI’s Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering since 2018 and professor of electrical and computer engineering, received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1983, his master’s degree from the University of Rochester in 1991, and his PhD from Boston University in 1994. From 1983 to 1990 he worked in industry in the design of high-resolution analog-to-digital converters and low-noise electronics used in high-speed, wide dynamic range imaging systems. In 1994, he joined WPI’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). From 2012 to 2018 he held the positions of associate head and then head of ECE. In 1999 he received the WPI Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching, and in 2007 was one of the inaugural winners of WPI’s Exemplary Faculty Award. 

Matt Oney ’90, Head Coach, Men’s Wrestling

Matt Oney ’90, electrical engineering, is entering his fifth season as the head wrestling coach at WPI. He returned to WPI following two years at Kansas Wesleyan, where his commitment to balancing athletics with academics contributed to the program’s first NAIA All-American and NWCA All-Academic honoree. Before making the move to the collegiate ranks, he spent more than 20 years as a math/physics teacher and wrestling coach at the high school level. A USA Wrestling GOLD Certified Coach, Oney also served for many years on the women's freestyle staff for the Pan-Am Cadet Championships as well as the Pan-Am Junior Championships The 2013 team claimed the title; the 2012, 2015, and 2017 lineups placed second, and the 2014 team earned bronze. He was also involved at the state level from 2003 through 2012. 

Toshak Patel ’23, Undergraduate Student

Toshak Patel ’23 is an aerospace engineering major with a minor in astrophysics. The current vice president of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and brother of Tau Kappa Epsilon, he has been actively supporting the fraternity/sorority life organizations at WPI. He is from Walpole, Massachusetts. 

Emily Perlow, Associate Dean of Students

Emily Perlow is the associate dean of students and has served in various roles with the WPI Division of Student Affairs for the past 17 years. She has an MA in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University and a PhD in Educational Policy from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Over the past three years, she served as a lead on student life for the Mental Health Implementation Team, a member of the Mental Health and Well-Being Taskforce, a team lead for the Coronavirus Emergency Response Team, and co-chair of the NECHE accreditation process for WPI. In addition to her committed service to WPI, she is a research affiliate in the Center for Student Success Research at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a lecturer in the Counselor Education and Family Therapy Program at Central Connecticut State University. She was a 2021 recipient of the Denise Nicoletti Trustee’s Award for Service to Community. 

Suzette Santiago, WPI Event Planner, Parent ’24

Suzette Santiago recently joined WPI’s Events Office to coordinate campuswide events after serving 10 years as the program manager for the pre-collegiate outreach office. She handled all logistics for WPI’s summer and academic year K-12 STEM programs, with a focus on building relationships with the Worcester Public Schools and Community-Based Organizations to strengthen our access programs. She is a co-advisor for the National Society of Black Engineers whose mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community. Her passion for outreach has led to many mission trips to Puerto Rico to help rebuild homes after Hurricane Maria. 

David Spanagel, Associate Professor

David Spanagel, associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Arts, joined WPI in 2005. He received his PhD from Harvard University. With expertise in the history of the earth sciences and cartography, he teaches broadly across the history of science and technology to support student inquiry into how knowledge and practices have changed during all time periods, in all cultural contexts and geographic regions, and among all fields and subfields of instrumental and mathematical as well as conceptual, theoretical, and qualitative studies of nature. 

Harin Vashi ’23, Graduate Student

Harin Vashi '23 is a master’s student of robotics and is the president of the Graduate Student Government (GSG). Having joined WPI in the fall of 2021 after completing his undergraduate studies in India, he has also served as a teaching assistant and research assistant for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests lie in the planning and control of autonomous vehicles.