Rafael Reif has served as the 17th President of MIT since July 2012. In his inaugural speech, Dr. Reif outlined the threats and opportunities presented by the sudden rise of credible, low-cost online learning alternatives and challenged MIT to use the campus as a lab to explore the future of higher education. While fostering the rapid growth of MIT’s non-profit online learning platform edX – which engaged more than 2.2 million learners from 196 countries in its first two years – he also launched an Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. In September 2014, the group issued its final report.

Opening Remarks

Joe Kennedy III is proud to serve the Fourth District of Massachusetts in Congress. Currently in his second term, he represents a diverse district that spans from the suburbs of Boston to the more industrial towns of Massachusetts’ South Coast. As member of the influential House Energy & Commerce Committee, Joe has prioritized economic opportunity for working families. A vocal advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, vocational schools and community colleges, he has authored several pieces of legislation in Washington aimed at improving access to our modern economy, including the Perkins Modernization Act and STEM Gateways Act. 


Sanjay Sarma leads the Office of Digital Learning, which oversees MIT OpenCourseWare and supports the development and use of digital technology for on-campus teaching and massive open online courses (MOOCs). He is also the Fred Fort Flowers (1941) and Daniel Fort Flowers (1941) Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

Currently, Sarma serves on the boards of GS1, EPCglobal, several startup companies including Senaya and ESSESS, and edX, the not-for-profit company set up by MIT and Harvard to create and promulgate an open-source platform for the distribution of free online education worldwide. He also advises several national governments and global companies.


Dr. Angela Belcher is a material scientist, biological engineer, and professor at MIT. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received her Bachelor's degree from the College of Creative Studies in 1991 and her Ph.D. in chemistry in 1997. Dr. Belcher was awarded the 24th annual MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the 2004 Four Star General Recognition Award. In 2006 she was named Scientific American’s Research Leader of the Year. Her work has been published in many prestigious scientific journals including Science and Nature, and has been reported in the popular press including Fortune, Forbes, Discover, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.


Dr. Bhatia trained at Brown, MIT, Harvard, and MGH. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, Biomedical Engineering Society, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and American Society for Clinical Investigation. She has been awarded the 2014 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship given to "the nation's most promising young professors in science and engineering," the NSF CAREER Award, the Y.C. Fung Young Investigator Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Young Investigator Award of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, the Brown Engineering Alumni Medal, and was named a Merkin Fellow of the Broad Institute. As a passionate mentor and advocate for diversity in science and engineering, she has been the recipient of the Harvard Medical School Diversity Award and the Harvard-MIT Thomas McMahon Mentoring Award. She co-authored the first undergraduate textbook on tissue engineering and is a frequent advisor to governmental organizations on nanobiotechnology, biomedical microsystems, and tissue engineering.


John Gabrieli is the director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute. He is an Investigator at the Institute, with faculty appointments in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where is holds the Grover Hermann Professorship. He also co-directs the MIT Clinical Research Center and is Associate Director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH/MIT, located at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior joining MIT, he spent 14 years at Stanford University in the Department of Psychology and Neurosciences Program. Since 1990, he has served as Visiting Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital and Rush Medical College.


Eric Klopfer's research focuses on the development and use of computer games and simulations for building understanding of science and complex systems. His research explores simulations and games on desktop computers as well as mobile devices like smatphones and tablets. Klopfer's work combines the construction of new software tools with implementation, research, and development of new pedagogical supports that transition the use of these tools to broader use in formal and informal learning. He is co-author of the book, "Adventures in Modeling: Exploring Complex, Dynamic Systems with StarLogo," and author of "Augmented Learning: Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games" from MIT Press. He is working on a new book for MIT Press about the intersection of academia and private industry around technology-enabled classroom innovations. Klopfer is also the director of The Education Arcade, which is advancing the development and use of games in K-12 education, as well as co-founder and president of the non-profit Learning Games Network.

Panel Moderator

Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, explores how new technologies can engage people in creative learning experiences. Resnick's research group developed the "programmable brick" technology that inspired the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit. He co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, a worldwide network of after-school centers where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies. Resnick's group also developed Scratch, an online community where children program and share interactive stories, games, and animations. He earned a BA in physics at Princeton University (1978), and MS and PhD degrees in computer science at MIT (1988, 1992). He worked as a science-technology journalist from 1978 to 1983, and he has consulted throughout the world on creative uses of computers in education. He is author of Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams (1994), co-editor of Constructionism in Practice (1996), and co-author of Adventures in Modeling (2001). In 2011, Resnick was awarded the McGraw Prize in Education.

Dale Allen has served at Quinsigamond Community College as Vice President for Community Engagement since 2008. Key to his position is a mix of responsibilities for seeking market driven opportunities for future QCC satellite locations, as well as relationship building between the Colleges and area businesses, corporations, organizations, and the shared community.

Allen also oversees the QCC Foundation, grants development, the QCC Training and Education Center, and alumni divisions of the College. In 2009, Allen lead the collaborative effort to open the College’s new satellite location in Southbridge, Massachusetts. He continues to focus on strategic partnerships that enhance the mission of Quinsigamond and address higher education and workforce development needs throughout Worcester County.

Having worked in higher education for over 15 years, Mr. Allen specializes in advancing connections between colleges and the various communities with which they interact – schools, other colleges, non-profits, businesses, elected officials, and neighborhoods. Before arriving at QCC, he served as the Director of Institutional Strategy at the Cecil Group, and at Springfield College as the Director of Community Relations. He has served on numerous boards in western and central Massachusetts and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Worcester Community Action Council and the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Karen M. Bomba has been Chief Executive Officer and President of Morpho Detection since July 30, 2013. Bomba's experience also includes serving as chief operating officer of carbon fiber company Zoltek from 2008 to 2010. Prior to first joining Safran in 2000, Bomba held various management and executive positions with aerospace companies Hitco Carbon Composites and Northrop Corporation's Advanced Systems Division.


Chris Dede is the Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.  His fields of scholarship include emerging technologies, policy, and leadership.  His funded research includes five grants from NSF and the Gates Foundation to design and study immersive simulations, transformed social interactions, and online professional development.  In 2007, he was honored by Harvard University as an outstanding teacher, and in 2011 he was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

Chris has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Foundations of Educational and Psychological Assessment and a member of the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan Technical Working Group.  His co-edited book, Scaling Up Success: Lessons Learned from Technology-based Educational Improvement, was published by Jossey-Bass in 2005.  A second volume he edited, Online Professional Development for Teachers: Emerging Models and Methods, was published by the Harvard Education Press in 2006. His latest book, Digital Teaching Platforms, will be published by Teachers College Press in 2012.

Mr. Paul Muller is an engineering and physics teacher at the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics & Science in Boston.

The John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science is a diverse, supportive community of learners that engages in a rigorous and comprehensive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program integrated with Humanities. Their college-preparatory exam school enables our students to reach their full potential and become leaders who will shape the direction of society.

Dr. Brian White is an educator, developer, and educational researcher. He teaches Introductory Biology at UMass Boston. He has been a participant and facilitator at the HHMI Summer Institute for Scientific Teaching. As a member of the BioQUEST curriculum consortium, he has developed several freely-available software simulations for teaching biology. These include the Virtual Genetics Lab, a simulation of genetics that is in use at colleges and high schools worldwide; and Aipotu, a simulation that links genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution. His research program focuses on evaluating these and other educational materials.