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2022 Infinite Mile Award Winners





Eric Lim
Research Engineer in MIT.nano

Eric is currently a domain expert, consulting with researchers as they conduct their research.  He is also continuing in his past position as a research specialist, training students and maintaining equipment.

Eric’s influence on the quality of research at MIT.nano is immense, and goes beyond just the research. His professionalism makes him an effective resource when discussing technical capabilities with senior faculty and industry collaborators. On many occasions Eric is brought in to help gauge proposals and provide in-depth feedback on technical feasibility.

Particularly noteworthy was Eric’s ability and willingness to run wafers for an external user during the COVID shutdown, when the user was unable to access the lab. Eric’s help was critical in enabling that project to move forward.

In addition to servicing tools and instruments, Eric has given invaluable advice in helping students achiever their research results.  For example, researchers at MIT.nano often must develop difficult etch recipes, which require a huge number of knobs to be optimized.  Using his past knowledge and experience, Eric has provided insights into these recipes and is very willing to teach students what he knows.

Overall, Eric is an astounding member of the MIT.nano staff and he has enhanced the research and learning experience at MIT.nano.


Regina Niles
Director of Finance and Administration at Solve

Regina has shepherded Solve through tremendous growth since she started in 2018 – a doubling in the annual budget and an increase in staff from 26 to 46.

At the time Regina started, Solve was also transitioning from the MIT Technology Review to the Provost’s Office.  This presented many logistical and organizational challenges which she jumped in and solved through sheer ingenuity. Having come from outside MIT, Regina had no prior knowledge of MIT’s policies and systems. But Regina has always been very thoughtful about developing good working relationships with her VPF, HR, and Provost Office colleagues.

In addition to the many, many jobs Regina has at Solve, she also has the best attitude.  She consistently shows up in a positive way and immediately makes those around her feel comfortable and included. Whether in office of over Zoom, Regina’s laugh and story-telling are a highlight for many at Solve.

Since July of last year, Solve has been experiencing a period of profound growth with two dozen new team members joining the organization. Despite having to handle onboarding remotely, Regina has worked to create an environment of connectedness and inclusion. Solve is exceptionally lucky that new staff have Regina as one of their first points of contact – there is no better person to welcome them to MIT and Solve. Over the last four years at Solve, Regina has left an indelible impact.


International People Placement Team

Linda Dionne (Provost’s Office) and Jennifer Chung (VPF)

Linda and Jennifer coordinate the placement of MIT employees in international assignments. The number of individuals in this category increased almost 10-fold during the pandemic. You can imagine that along with the volume, the complexity of review and approval evolved quickly and dramatically during the past few years. They managed a complex, evolving review and approval process that includes multiple entities across MIT, pulling together the needed expertise to make sound recommendations.

Linda is the overall coordinator of the International People Placement committee, which was established in 2015 to support the wide range of international assignments undertaken in support of MIT’s work abroad. And Jennifer is the lead global mobility specialist from the Office of the Vice President for Finance and the primary point of contact for all international placements.

One nominator wrote: “Linda’s responsiveness to every inquiry I had was exceptional and above and beyond what I had expected from someone who was managing dozens of these cases in an evolving administrative and pandemic environment.”

Another person wrote: “Linda and Jennifer have been an essential resource in helping us to find answers to several new employment situations that we have needed to address during this unusual period.”

In short, they represent the gold standard for a supplier-client relationship. As the go-to experts in International People Placement, Linda and Jennifer have provided a consistently outstanding level of guidance and support.


Postdoc Buddy Program Organizers

Kyle Diederichsen, Joomyung (Vicky) Jun, Foteini Vervelidou

Launched in the summer of 2021, the Postdoctoral Association’s Buddy Program has already reached about 300 postdocs. Kyle, Vicky and Foteini initiated this program to connect new postdocs with experienced postdocs. It quickly evolved from a peer mentoring tool to an essential way for postdocs to meet other postdocs outside their DLC and to connect with other postdocs sharing the same language, culture and interests.

Two compelling measures of success of this program are its growth by almost 3-fold, and the addition of 6 more team members to help run the program. Postdocs in the program come from about 40 departments, labs, and centers.

In addition to the three postdocs we award today, the following team members also deserve to be mentioned as important contributors to the program:

  • Arusha Acharyya
  • Benedict Alois Borer
  • Spencer Brucks
  • Xiaoxue Du
  • Vasha DuTell
  • Chao Liu
  • Rocio Mercado
  • Christopher Sun
  • Xun  Wang

This team addressed a key factor in the DEI strategic plan, provided an immediate positive impact on the MIT postdoc community, and built a team and plan designed to ensure continuity of the program.


Victoria Mulloy
Veterinary Technical Services Supervisor, DCM

Vikki is the Veterinary Technical Services Supervisor in DCM, and as such supervises 10 veterinary technicians across 8 animal care sites. Under her leadership the Small Animal Veterinary Technician team has more than doubled in size. Vikki fills in physically doing the work when someone is out, she does the hand-on training of new employees and she schedules staff to cover work across eight animal facilities, dozens of breeding colonies, plus technical services for the labs.

What is striking about Vikki is that in a relatively short time and during particularly challenging circumstances, she is able to go above and beyond consistently. She continues to maintain a calm and steady approach to ensure work is completed, animal welfare is never compromised, and those helping her feel supported and part of a team.

Vikki has to be familiar with the wide range of research being conducted at MIT and a lot of the procedures that are specific to the individual labs. Beyond the clinical health responsibilities, Vikki has had to learn the intricacies of the different labs and their colonies. Her support of the technical program during these particularly challenging times has resulted in a stronger and more cohesive team. Her thoughtfulness for the people she works with, her comprehensive communication style, and her compassion for the animals sets Vikki apart.


Jo-Ann Lenzi
Administrative Assistant I, Haystack Observatory

Jo-Ann is a key pillar in the strong relationship between Lincoln Laboratory and MIT Haystack Observatory through her direct support to site management. Jo-Ann’s procurement role is foundational to keeping critical systems functioning and on the leading edge of technological capability.

During COVID, Jo-Ann’s flexibility and ingenuity were integral to continued operation.  She continued to work on the Haystack campus while her colleague worked remotely.  In this way the necessary on-site administrative support remained in place while maintaining everyone’s safety. Whether it is high-stakes mission needs or spikes in purchasing whenever a new project gets underway, Jo-Ann is the constant force that keeps the site rooted and focused.

In addition, she initiated an electronic method of submitting timecards each week.  This also helped maintain safety will minimizing delay in payroll distribution.

Both of these innovations as a result of COVID have remained in place, a testament to how successful they were. Jo-Ann is the quiet and unobtrusive force that forms the backbone of Haystack’s very successful mission execution.


Marie Gentile
EHS Coordinator, Research Laboratory of Electronics

Marie started in April 2019 as the EHS Officer for both the Research Laboratory of Electronics and the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She quickly assimilated into her job and learned the complexities of every laboratory within RLE and Aero/Astro, which have vastly divergent laboratories including biological, animal, electrical, optical and mechanical components, plus machine shops and a wind tunnel.

Marie showed her true colors though, when the research was suspended at the beginning of the pandemic. She took the initiative to visit all of our labs on a consistent and regular basis. During these visits she found a series of very important issues which, if left unchecked, would have resulted in building or severe laboratory damage.

One of her major successes during this time was the coordinating and managing of an out of state vendor’s visit to campus to re-commission and calibrate a Toxic Gas Monitoring System during the shutdown. Because she has been onsite at MIT so consistently throughout the COVID shutdown, she has helped with access issues where people were locked out of labs while experiments were running, restarted computers, given out keys and a host of other administrative but essential tasks that enabled our students to continue their research interrupted. Marie’s inimitable blend of knowledge, initiative, positive customer attitude and genuine willingness to help in any way makes her a unique contributor at MIT.


Louis Goldish
Senior Venture Advisor, MIT VMS

Lou has supported more than 4,100 entrepreneurs and more than 3,100 ventures in Venture Mentoring Service since it was formed 20 years ago. Lou’s primary responsibilities include the intake of new ventures and the introduction of the new ventures to the volunteer mentors at the monthly mentor meetings of VMS. In fact, he developed the intake process to make sure that applicants are able to participate, and he reviews the venture itself prior to accepting new ventures.

Lou also acts as an ambassador of VMS, promoting entrepreneurship, and giving presentations at organizations interested in setting up mentoring programs. Lou is a mainstay and one of the primary reasons that VMS is the strong and successful organization it is today. He is an amalgamation of what it means to be a mentor. Lou is a very good listener, respectful, positive, quick to grasp the point and a great teacher.

One entrepreneur who now has a successful company writes, “As I engaged with VMS as a mentee, I came to understand the pivotal role that Lou plays.  He works across all the mentor groups, coordinating, setting the example and upholding MIT VMS’s principals which are at the core of its success.”

Lou’s success is not accidental.  It results from hours upon hours of preparation for each new venture, and a lot of creativity.  It is clear that Lou’s combination of humility, humor, and hard work has had an outsized effect on the VMS over the last twenty years.



Michael Keohane, Felicia Lombardozzi, Adrienne Showman, Danielle Stark, and Courtney Barry

The COUHES team is tasked with reviewing and approving research proposals involving human subjects. COUHES provides one-on-one support to help MIT researchers throughout the review process and assumes an unofficial mentoring role to train MIT researchers and ensure researchers receive high-level service in a timely and professional manner.

Similar to many of our awardees today, the innate strengths of the COUHES team allowed it to navigate the many issues posed by the COVID pandemic. Collaborating with campus committees and key stakeholders, the team quickly drafted policies on how to best conduct in-person human subject research in order to minimize the risk of infection. The efficient response to the changing conditions meant in-person research could safely continue. In addition, COUHES developed a new research protocol submission and management system. This tool has allowed COUHES staff to spend more time providing tailored services for the most difficult cases. When they bring issues for resolution, they also bring proposed solutions based on experience and their own research and benchmarking of peer institutions and best practices.

COUHES is a perfect example of the MIT mentality: a strong focus on what really matters and a get-it-done attitude. They are outstanding partners in assuring a safe, transparent and efficient research environment.


Plasma Science Fusion Center (PSFC) Toroidal Field Model Coil (TFMC) Team Leaders:

Vinny Fry, Mechanical Engineer

Ted Golfinopolous, Research Scientist

Andrew Pfeiffer, Operations Coordinator

Sam Pierson, Deputy Engineering Coordinator

Phil Michael, Research Scientist

Rui Vieira, Deputy Head of MFE Engineering

The Toroidal Field Model Coil (TFMC) team leaders were instrumental in designing and building the world’s preeminent large‐scale High Temperature Superconductor magnet. In parallel, during the summer of 2021, they collectively also fabricated a cryogenic test facility, installed the new magnet and, on Labor Day weekend 2021, conducted a successful test which reached the target 20 tesla magnetic field on the first attempt.

Between May and September of 2021, in the final phase of magnet assembly and testing, the Toroidal Field Model Coil team had spent every day, including weekends, tirelessly assembling every precise part that went into the magnet and its test facility. They remained available to solve problems and ensure the project remained on track. On most nights, Ted was asleep on a futon down the hall from the cryogenic magnet (which requires 24/7 supervision), ready to return to the control room at a moment’s notice. Phil stayed hours after his 8-hour shift had ended to ensure things were progressing smoothly. Andrew was always the first person on-site early in the morning and the last to leave. Rui spent every day making sure every part fit together precisely as it should. Sam and Vinny spent days in cleansuits, climbing inside confined spaces in the vacuum vessels to carefully position every bolt. There were many things that could go wrong, and many things did go wrong: expensive parts didn’t fit, electricity shut off for a second, sensors failed. Nonetheless, it was the guidance and leadership of these six scientist and engineers, who were able to solve every problem that arose.

The importance of this achievement can been seen by the worldwide attention given to the 20 tesla magnet demonstration. By stepping up, pulling together to work as a team and doing whatever was needed, this successful and important project has changed the future of fusion research and advanced MIT PSFC as a leader in this field. We cannot think of more deserving individuals for the MIT Infinite Mile Award.


Bendta Schroeder
Communications Specialist, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

Bendta joined the Koch Institute for Integrative Research in 2018 as Communications Coordinator. She has demonstrated an uncommon ability to effectively communicate highly complex discoveries in cancer science and engineering, advancing the mission of the Koch Institute. Now a Communications Specialist, Bendta is a thoughtful, innovative communicator who adeptly leads from behind and empowers the entire Koch Institute community. Bendta is exceedingly organized and always has a can-do, positive attitude. Whether managing a meticulously organized network of Dropbox folders, creating a detailed and goal-oriented tracking spreadsheet, training colleagues on a new project management platform or content management system, or sharing information from other DLCs, Bendta keeps KI’s systems running and connected to their goals.

This year, Bendta took the lead in revamping the soon-to-be-re-launched KI website and Intranet. She has made what could have been a laborious process completely painless with her professionalism and wonderfully wise sense of humor throughout the process. It has been a labor of love for Bendta and it is something that she should be very proud of.  The website takes a fresh new approach to communications – both visually and with content.

Bendta can take a vague idea and transform it into a stunning product, such as for the Koch Institute’s recent Image Awards competitions, whose calls for submissions have featured art deco, impressionist, expressionist, and pop art themes melded with scientific imagery. Both faculty and the leadership team enthusiastically highlight her deep knowledge – not just in her subject matter but also in the ways of MIT and the media landscape, where she exhibited a conscientious, proactive approach to several high-profile news releases.

Bendta is demonstrative of the spirit of the Infinite Mile award in her exceptional commitment to both the Koch Institute and MIT and is well-deserving of this award.


Rachel Shulman
MITEI Academic Coordinator, MIT Energy Initiative

As the Academic Coordinator at MITEI, Rachel is responsible for all aspects of academic administrative matters for the undergraduate Energy Studies minor. Not only does Rachel skillfully administer the Energy Studies minor, she has also thoughtfully expanded programming in support of the minor and goes above and beyond to help students take advantage of all MIT has to offer. When she identifies a gap in programming, such as career support, Rachel takes the initiative to address it. For example, Rachel has created and maintained a robust professional development program for MITEI-sponsored UROPs.

Rachel is a passionate champion for “her” undergrads. She is constantly thinking beyond their academic requirements and looks after their social wellbeing and success in their future career in everything she does. She takes time to understand each student’s unique motivations and goals before guiding them toward relevant subjects, programs and individuals at MIT and beyond. In recent years, she designed and implemented a very popular forum: MIT’s Working the Energy Transition career event brings distinguished MIT alums on campus to talk with students about career opportunities in the clean energy sector.

Rachel’s knowledge and charisma make her a master of bringing people together, and she has built a strong and welcoming MIT undergraduate community. One such example is the Energy Commons lunches that quickly became a gathering point for the undergraduate community. Frequently inviting professors and staff members from across the Institute, Rachel created a warm and welcoming environment. As one of her student nominators put it “no matter what the stressor of the day was, we could always count on Rachel to bring us together, a kind of oasis amidst our busy lives.” Rachel embodies everything that is truly special about MIT: excellence, dedication, reliability, eagerness to learn, and a warm-hearted nature.


Dr. Sarah McKeever
Administrative Assistant II, Research Laboratory of Electronics

Since her start at MIT in March 2019 as Administrative Assistant II to Prof. Yang Shao-Horn, Sarah has consistently worked above and beyond her expected duties in the Electrochemical Energy Lab Research Group (EEL). Sarah has developed into a key member of the group, taking on increasing responsibilities in a wide variety of areas. This energy benefits new postdocs who joined the lab during COVID, making it easy for them to assimilate to their new work environments and find success quickly, despite the pandemic-related challenges facing the lab. Moreover, she has served as a critical contact for the lab during the COVID ramp-down and ramp-up. Her ability to quickly synthesize and summarize constantly updated Institute guidelines guided the lab group to ensure compliance and safety. Rachel goes out of her way to make sure that everyone feels welcomed and that her door is always open for a kind word or for helping resolve an issue. Her weekly zoom meeting was not only to address pandemic-related challenges to the lab group and its research, but also served as an opportunity to check in on how each person was handling this unprecedented and ever-evolving situation personally as well as professionally.

Sarah was invaluable during the transition to virtual learning for the fall graduate seminar course. She attended trainings on Canvas and remote learning techniques to quickly develop and populate the course Canvas site with the TA. She assisted with course management, setting up break-out rooms when needed, offering technical support, and helping run biweekly feedback forums with the TA to gather and implement feedback from the students to improve the remote learning environment as much as possible.

Sarah has also expanded on the group’s efforts toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies (DEI) in STEM. She has helped draft the new group mission statement on DEI, leading several journal clubs with group members on complex topics such as climate and diversity in STEM and experiences with racism and challenges to the idea of the American Dream. She has developed monthly emails with the DEI Chair to the group covering MIT DEI events, information, and support on difficult or controversial topics. She has created a safe and equitable space for participants to share and grow and is a source of empathy and support for her colleagues.

Dr. McKeever’s profound commitment to the well-being of all the lab members and her thoughtfulness and professionalism enhances the EEL group and the RLE community. Her exceptional contributions shine brightly and are why this wonderful acknowledgment is so deserving.


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