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2020 Infinite Mile Award Winners



Peter Bebergal, Technology Licensing Office

The Technology Licensing Office – known as the TLO – at MIT is well recognized for the work it does with faculty patenting and licensing new discoveries, thereby translating their research to impact society through new products and services. What is less well known is the work done in the TLO by Peter Bebergal as the Technology Licensing Officer for the Use of MIT’s Name and Trademark. Peter works quietly and closely with a variety of stakeholders across the MIT community to preserve the integrity and value of the MIT name and trademark and to grant rights to various approved parties for use of the MIT name and trademark.  Peter also single handedly manages the complex and ever-increasing inquiries from individuals and companies wishing to use MIT’s name, as well as pursuing information provided (often by alumni) about misuse of MIT’s name.

Peter’s skills are constantly being tested in the current environment that seeks to foster larger, complex research collaborations and increases MIT’s entrepreneurial footprint. Peter helps steward the use of MIT’s name through this innovation ecosystem. He has become a subject matter expert on the topic so much so that he recently hosted a meeting for similar use-of-name colleagues from other universities across the country to help educate and share best practices.

Peter also provides guidance to different groups on MIT non-software copyrighted material requests and issuing permission and licenses when needed as well as use of copyrighted material in journal publications, textbooks, and other academic publications. When Peter doesn’t have the answer, he seems to always know who does. There are numerous requests received each month from licensees, vendors, contractors, movie companies, and others to use MIT’s trademarks and trademarked images in various ways such as in films, in press releases, and on websites. Peter’s commitment to getting the job done, diplomacy and firmness allow him to strike the right balance between the needs of the sponsor and the protection of MIT’s identity. To TLO’s very own Iron Man, we salute Peter! 


Sarah Farrington, Koch Institute for Cancer Research

Sarah Farrington is the Core Facilities Administrator of the Swanson Biotechnology Center. Her role is to oversee all aspects of the core, including support of all Core Facility managers; soliciting input from users and tracking usage; organizing the hiring of new personnel, the selection and purchase of new instrumentation; and strategic planning of the Cores’ mission and services. Sarah carries out all of these tasks with extraordinary dedication, effectiveness and independence, and respect for the numerous people she interacts with.

On top of this “normal” workload, Sarah played a central and crucial role in the CCSG – that is the Cancer Center Support Grant – renewal process, which happens every five years. Sarah began to work on the renewal more than a year before the grant submission, helping to develop and then implement strategic changes to several Cores to ensure that they were optimally positioned to be forward-looking for the upcoming grant period. Entirely on her own initiative, she planned and wrote draft versions of each the Core Facility Narratives for the Cancer Center Support Grant proposal that included a description of the mission, staff and service of the Cores to highlight both the range and value of services of our Core Facility, and the amazing achievements of a broad array of our Koch Institute laboratories.

Once the proposal was submitted, Sarah then turned her attention to preparing for the site visit, again unbidden. She planned and prepared posters for the Core Facility Manager presentations, including new science vignettes that complemented those included in the CCSG proposal. She then organized and ran mock review sessions with the Managers to ensure that they were familiar with all these materials and were prepped to handle any trick questions that reviewers might come up with. Largely as a result of her efforts, the site visit went off without a hitch. The CCSG renewal received a perfect score and Sarah had a large hand in this success. Thank you, Sarah!


Noya Leve, Solve

Noya Leve started in Solve in 2016, and was promoted in 2018 to work with the International Projects team. In her role, Noya flawlessly collaborates with her MIT colleagues, guest speakers, and outside vendors. She is meticulous with organizational details but can pivot on a dime to something high-level and cerebral. For example, she has become very adept at anticipating needs – whether it is a client or a senior colleague – and can easily take a step back from within the weeds, but then get right back in and do whatever mundane task the moment requests. Her mastery of the Solve platform (in all of its glory and nuance) is a good example of this; she has been able to suggest solutions to last-minute or late night issues as well as help clients get the most out of their custom open innovation challenges with Solve.

Noya is active in the Challenge Promotion Team at Solve, helping to find ways to publicize the challenge offerings while maintaining the integrity of Solve’s “core” open innovation challenges. She’s well positioned to do so, as she is quite good at maintaining a sense of balance and context. It’s been wonderful to see Noya grow; she’s now comfortable leading a workshop with a diverse audience, or managing a complex vendor relationship. In her new position with the International Projects team at Solve, Noya continues to combine excellent communication and project management skills with resourcefulness and diligence. Noya is undoubtedly an integral part of Solve’s culture, mission, and success. Great work, Noya! 


Roman Lubynsky, MIT Innovation Initiative

Roman Lubynsky is the executive director of the NSF-funded New England Regional Innovation Node, which – among other things – gives grants to help entrepreneurs get training and experience as they consider establishing start-up companies. As many of you know, Roman planted his roots early on at MIT with the creation of MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service. While many would have been content with the wild success of this program, Roman has never stopped thinking of what more he can do.

The Node program has been very successful, growing a great deal since he began coordinating this program a year ago. Roman has personally been involved in every aspect of the Node, from hiring a great team, personally assisting in creating the website, documenting standards and processes to ensure consistency, solidifying relationships internally and externally, and training/mentoring well over three hundred teams. Just wait until years two and three!

Roman has a unique ability to both intrinsically trust his employees and allow them autonomy in their jobs and growth, while also involving himself so as to fully understand the process. This results in a team that has full awareness of their mission and goals, and has pride in the work that they undertake. Roman is one of the most positive, forward thinking, collaborative, altruistic, and influential leaders at MIT. We’re looking forward to what other great things Roman has planned, but for now it is appropriate to recognize his achievements so far.


Catherine Nunziata, McGovern Institute for Brain Research

In her capacity as McGovern’s event coordinator, Catherine has exhibited poise under pressure, great attention to detail, and seemingly endless energy. In addition to her current responsibilities in support of events and development, Catherine’s role has grown to support McGovern Institute communication efforts and she continues to work with the communications team to develop and execute effective branding and communication strategies to promote events and other special programs and initiatives.

Catherine completes her responsibilities at an extremely high level and is adept at anticipating problems before they arise. She has successfully handled all aspects of program planning – assuming the lead role in the planning and execution of McGovern conferences, board meetings, donor events, symposia, poster sessions, lectures, guest lunches, lab tours, and other activities.

Catherine always goes the extra mile because she is wholeheartedly supportive of the McGovern Institute’s success, and because she is enthusiastic and motivated about supporting and encouraging those around her. We’d like to thank Catherine for her efforts and hard work.


Jay Pastorello, Student Arts Association

A gifted ceramicist, Jay teaches extra-academic classes to the MIT community. Students say that his classes are more than instruction - they are a community. Jay leads by example in the studio, offering cheerful greetings to each student that often echo through the halls of the student center. He is a kind and patient instructor to students with all levels of ability. Jay’s success as an instructor comes not only from his mastery of the medium, but also from his keen intuition and his genuine kind-heartedness.

Jay looks for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations in order to widen the available experiences and resources for MIT students.  And he teaches multi-day workshops and abbreviated classes to fit IAP and summer constraints.

One student noted that, “ceramics class with Jay was always a way for me to use a different part of my brain, get lost in something creative, and recharge.” Jay’s classes are fun and informative, and he spends time engaging with each student to help nurture our individual talents and styles (often staying late to answer questions or to offer advice). He can find positive, constructive things to say about anything made by the students. Jay’s sincerity and unrelenting joy is a great resource to MIT. We are lucky to have him and I’m glad we can celebrate his contributions today.


Michael Poirier, Haystack Observatory

A long-time veteran of Haystack Observatory with primary responsibility for maintaining and operating the Westford radio telescope, Mike has excelled in technical, management, and programmatic activities while always exerting a positive influence on Haystack’s culture. In short, he exhibits leadership in every aspect of his job.

In September 2019, Mike assumed additional responsibilities, including chairing the Haystack Safety Committee. The scope of this role is significant, as safety is a big concern at a facility as complex as Haystack. Just imagine working on the giant radio telescopes! But Mike’s enthusiasm, professionalism, attention to detail, and ability to hold people accountable have enabled him to be successful. He has also been an integral part of the required trainings, making sure Haystack employees get the proper training and certifications to do their jobs.

On top of his formal duties, Mike also serves as the glue. Mike is passionate about how to make Haystack the best it can be. When Haystack celebrates a promotion or award, when it is time for a birthday, a welcome, or a farewell, when people come together to cheer and to grieve, Mike is there to do what few are able for the good of the Observatory. He knows how to step up and make everyone laugh when it is time to cheer, and search deep in time of mourning. Mike is passionate about how to make Haystack the best it can be. It is wonderful that we have the opportunity today to publicly thank him for his efforts. Well done, Mike!


Maxine Samuels, Research Laboratory of Electronics

Maxine’s record of professionalism and employment service are legendary. Without exception, Maxine executes her HR responsibilities with dedication, enthusiasm and purpose. Maxine’s work ethic, leadership, determination, caring and generosity of spirit make her an exemplary representative of MIT.  Maxine has a genuine respect and high regard for faculty, students, postdocs and the MIT community. 

Beyond her responsibilities at RLE HQ, Maxine is a force for the greater good. She volunteers in a variety of impactful ways that help make MIT a stronger and more inclusive community. Students, postdocs, visitors and faculty all benefit from Maxine’s extraordinary generosity and kindness. Among other endeavors, Maxine volunteers with the Mentor Advocate Partnership, which connects MIT first-year undergraduate students with MIT faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students. She also volunteers with the ISO Hosts to International Students Program, the African, Black, American, and Caribbean Employee Resource Group, MIT Community Services, and MIT’s Women’s League.

It is clear that Maxine’s commitment to community building goes beyond any reasonable definition of volunteerism. Maxine freely shares her spirit of generosity and exudes a big-hearted humanity that most of us can only aspire to. Her nature is to encourage everyone she encounters (independent of who they are and what she is doing to assist). This includes faculty, UROPs, RAs, visiting students post docs, HQ colleagues and many others. RLE and MIT are fortunate to have her as a member of our community! Congratulations to Maxine for a deserving award.


Robert Tolu, MIT Energy Initiative

Robert continues to transform the culture of the MITEI finance office and make it both a high-functioning and welcoming place. Since he arrived in August 2017, his outstanding leadership has resulted in a strong, coordinated team that executes and communicates well. He ensures his team’s success by investing time in teaching them and by building on their individual strengths.

Robert has extensive research administration experience and a lot of enthusiasm for teaching others. Therefore, it made perfect sense that Robert was recently selected by the VPR’s office to participate in a program where he mentors other less experienced MIT research administrators to help them strengthen their skills.

Robert handles all the pressure and demands of a large team and a complex organization with grace, humor, and a spirit of collaboration. His interests in learning, developing others, commitment to his team, the work, and MITEI have been handled in such a positive way that the changes he has made are welcomed rather than resisted.

Robert is truly exceptional in all aspects of his work and is an example for others to follow regarding how to deliver high quality service to the MIT community. He goes out of his way to quickly respond when needed and he is constantly thinking about ways to improve processes at the Energy Initiative. Employees like Robert are an important linchpin to MIT’s continued success. Thank you, Robert!


Taylor Tracy, Nuclear Reactor Laboratory

Taylor is an Administrative Assistant at the Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL). Since joining the NRL in 2013, she has taken on many new responsibilities. Taylor is dedicated and exemplifies "serving the better good," for the NRL. She has become the go-to person for reactor tours and prior to her arrival, this responsibility was assigned to the reactor operations staff. Her attention to detail, passion for nuclear technology and educating the public, as well as her knowledge of policies and procedures is unmatched. Her ability to perform at this high level has relieved a significant workload from reactor operations staff, and significantly enhanced outreach to the local community, schools and youth organizations.

Taylor’s ability to multitask on many projects simultaneously while being able to understand competing priorities is a true asset. There are no limits on the value she brings to the NRL and MIT. She has quickly become the one person that is missed the most when not in the office. Many see Taylor as being the face of the organization at the NRL but she's more like the heart.

Taylor’s dedication and enthusiasm for the NRL has increased its presence on campus with student groups and with the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. She continuously strives to serve the better good for the NRL and MIT. Congratulations Taylor on your well-earned recognition.


Sampson Wilcox, Research Laboratory of Electronics

Occasionally, a single person's contributions have such a profound impact on an organization that they stand out from the rest. Sampson is that one exceptional person whose presence and contributions have left an enduring impression on the RLE and MIT communities.

His energy, enthusiasm and dedication to serving his constituents is exemplary. Sampson has created scores of web sites for principal investigators, students, laboratory initiatives and Institute wide events. Each is unique, masterfully crafted, artistic and effective. He has designed cover images for major publications such as Nature Photonics, Nature Physics, MIT News and others.

One example of Sampson's achievements was the production of the Anita Hill Speaker Series. When Professor Hill joined RLE as a visitor through the MLK Scholars Program, Sampson volunteered to be the lead design and media facilitator for that program. This was a herculean task that included interfacing with a nationally known leader in gender equality and race, producing a website for the series, creating promotional materials and ensuring that the logistics of the events were handled meticulously. The result was a highly professional series of lectures covering a wide variety of issues from the future of Title IX to gender and race equality in education, attended by faculty, students, staff and the leadership at MIT.

Sampson’s overall commitment to designing to the needs of his customers and artistic talents has made him a sought-after commodity. He is masterful at listening to his clients, concentrating on their needs and desires and translating those into creative, artful and functional reality. We are grateful to be able to recognize Sampson for such great work.



Area Supervisors from the Division of Comparative Medicine

There are eleven DCM Area Supervisors.

Sarah Ambrose
Randy Curry
Corey Gallo
Brian Lagace
Erin Mathieu
Suzette Morales
Stephen Plouff
Gladys Valeriano
Andrea Vargas
Lidia Vasconcelos
Tsetan Wangchuk

This remarkable team in DCM oversees ten centrally managed animal research facilities located in seven buildings  throughout Campus and are responsible for supervising 90 Animal Care Technicians and their activities 365 days per year. It is hard to overstate the contributions of the area supervisors to the operations of DCM. This front-line team maintains immaculate, state-of-the-art animal facilities and interacts with and supports the many active researchers using DCM facilities.

Each supervisor’s ability to successfully operate her or his own facility while also supporting their fellow Area Supervisors’ facilities is key. Dedicated, highly skilled and responsive to the ever-increasing demands placed on them and their staff, it is clear the area supervisors are proud to represent DCM and MIT. On top of being excellent supervisors, each has furthered their education in the field of animal research by studying for and passing exams in order to obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.

The Area Supervisors have 150 years of combined experience at MIT in DCM. This is a profound testament to their collective hard work and the dedication that they represent on behalf of MIT and  DCM, and, most importantly, those under their care. The DCM Area Supervisors should be commended and recognized for their commitment to the Institute and to the important field of biomedical research.



The MITx Team includes:

Lisa Eichel 
David Chotin
Sarah Davis
Brad Kay Goodman
Lindsey Weeramuni
Carlos Gutierrez
Geoff Wilson
Lana Scott
Allen Yannone
Doug McLean
Harry Bechkes

Mary Ziegler
Shelly Upton
Shira Fruchtman
Meredith Davies
Kyle Boots
Allie Oliviere
Corinne Hamilton
Andrea Sullivan and
Welina Farrah

This incredible team supports MIT faculty in making MIT’s Massive Open Online Courses. To do so, they must go beyond just delivering what people need when they need it. It is about building trust and relationships with faculty, students, and staff.  With the many accolades from faculty about this group, it is hard to choose which area to focus on.

Working with faculty can be rewarding and challenging. Almost all the MITx team members work directly with faculty to help them achieve the faculty member’s vision of their course. They show faculty the “ropes” for many who have never created a MOOC.  The goal of the faculty is to provide the best learning experience for the students and the team continues to come up with creative ways to make it happen.  They continuously are creating new features for the classes, such as using unique animation, virtual lab tours, arranging for a massive proctored exam and importantly ensuring accessibility. 

This team shows up day after day with such a positive attitude and is a shining example of people working together, putting their best foot forward, and delivering on the MIT mission. The MITx team is proud to support MIT’s efforts in the MOOC world. Thank you for all your contributions and successes in supporting MIT.