This is the governing body of SSP International, the only enrichment program governed and largely funded by its own alumni and former faculty.
Yoonjeong (YJ) Cha
Immediate Past Chair
Chief Executive Officer: Frank Steslow
Chief Academic Officer: Amy Barr Mlinar
Chief Administrative Officer: Amy Gillette
Chair Emeritus: Henry Lichstein
Minosca Alcántara is Executive Director of the New York State Bridge Authority. Her past positions have included Chief of Project Scheduling at MTA Construction & Development, and Commissioner for the Equal Employment Practices Commission for the City of New York. She is an experienced civil engineer with expertise in large, urban project and construction management. Dr. Alcantara has worked as a lead cost/schedule engineer in a variety of projects involving Architectural, Infrastructure and Wastewater management locally and internationally. She is also committed to the field of education. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign she designed, implemented and expanded programs that engage K-16 students with STEM, particularly women and other students from groups underrepresented in STEM. She holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña, an M.A. in Construction Management from George Washington University, and Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Columbia University. She is the mother of three, who all followed in her engineering footsteps. Her daughter attended SSP in 2016.
Ricky Balthrop ’74 (a graduate of Rice University in Mathematics and J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School) After attending SSP ’74 and initially planning to become an astronomer, Ricky ultimately pursued a career in law specializing in corporations and securities law before transitioning to teaching. Despite his career path diverging from the sciences, the transformative experience at SSP left a lasting impact on his life, emphasizing the value of pure scientific research in shaping his interests, strengths, and skills. Now retired, he continues to be involved with the program as an admissions reviewer.
Edmund Bertschinger ’75 is Professor of Physics and affiliated faculty member in the Program in Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT. A faculty member since 1986, Ed served as MIT Physics Department Head for almost six years and as MIT’s senior equity and community officer for five years. He is a theoretical astrophysicist and nascent social scientist who is equally passionate about cosmology and black holes, education, mentoring, and diversity and inclusion in all their aspects.
Lauren Blum ’76 is the Chief Investment Officer of Capital Counsel LLC, a New York-based registered investment advisory firm that invests in 12 to 20 profitable, growing, well-managed mid- and large-cap publicly-traded U.S. companies. She joined the firm at its founding in 1999. Before joining Capital Counsel, Lauren was a Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund where she performed the first lifecycle assessment of pulp and paper manufacturing as part of a large cooperative project with Duke University, Johnson & Johnson, McDonalds, Prudential and Time-Life to define environmentally preferable paper purchasing practices. She was also an Associate in the Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Energy practice of Booz, Allen & Hamilton. She has an A.B. in Chemistry from Harvard University, a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from MIT and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Yoonjeong Cha ‘09 (TA ’13) is Senior Director of Computational Biology at Immuneering. Her work focuses on using computational approaches for drug discovery and development. She utilizes transcriptomic and genomic data to identify novel targets and drug candidates for central nervous system diseases. She has authored nine publications including papers on data analysis best practices in drug discovery. She earned a B.S. in Computer Science and Molecular Biology from MIT in 2015. As an undergraduate, she directed two high school programs through the MIT Educational Studies.
Clint Chapple‘s research on the biosynthesis of the plant cell wall polymer lignin has contributed to our understanding of how lignin content and composition can be manipulated in plants, a topic that has implications for the use of lignocellulosic feedstocks in industry and agriculture. Dr. Chapple attended the University of Guelph from which he received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in botany and his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1989, after which he did post-doctoral research at Michigan State University in the Department of Energy Plant Research Lab. In 1993 he joined the Department of Biochemistry and served as head from 2008 to 2015. From 2015-2020 her served as Director of the Purdue Center for Plant Biology. Chapple was recognized with Purdue’s Herbert Newby McCoy Award in 2011, and was recently inducted into the Book of Great Teachers. In 2002, he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in 2020 a Fellow of the American Association of Plant Biologists, and in 2022, a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on the editorial boards of The Plant Journal, Plant Physiology, The Plant Cell, and Annual Reviews of Plant Biology.
Ronald Irving ’68 is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Washington. Ron grew up in New York, where his early childhood passion for astronomy was nurtured through visits with his mother to Hayden Planetarium. A gradual drift toward mathematics was completed when he was given Irving Adler’s newly published Giant Golden Book of Mathematics on his second/eighth birthday. He received an AB in mathematics and philosophy from Harvard in 1973 and a PhD in mathematics from MIT in 1977, joining the University of Washington in 1981 after holding postdoctoral positions at Brandeis, the University of Chicago, and UC San Diego. At UW, Ron served as department chair, Divisional Dean of Natural Sciences, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and department chair again.
In 2002, Ron established a six-week residential program for talented high school students in the greater northwest—the Summer Institute for Mathematics at UW—which he ran for 19 years. He spent twenty years as board member and secretary-treasurer with the Astrophysical Research Consortium, whose member universities own and operate Apache Point Observatory in the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico. Ron was a board member of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences as well as board member and president of the board of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle. He has recently joined the board of the Simons Laufer Mathematical Sciences Institute in Berkeley.
Michael McKay ’78 is an Advisory Partner at Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm, where he helps organizations develop strategies for growth. He previously served on SSP’s Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2018, including service as Treasurer and President. He currently serves on three corporate boards, is the Chair of SSP’s Investment Committee and Reorganization Committee.
Philip Nolan ’76 is a Managing Director at Blue Delta Capital Partners. He was previously CEO of Camber Corp. acquired by Huntington Ingalls Industries in 2016. He spent 20 years at Stanley, Inc. rising to Chair, President, and CEO. He took the company public in 2006; it was subsequently bought by CGI Group in 2010. In 2007, Mr. Nolan was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. He is past Chair of the Professional Services Council, the national trade association of the U.S. Federal Government’s professional and technical services industry.
Prior to Stanley, Mr. Nolan served on active duty as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power Program. He retired as a Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve after 24 years of service. He holds a B.S. in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy, an M.S.E. in engineering management from the Catholic University of America, and a J.D. from George Washington University’s National Law Center. He is a member of the Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. bars.
Martha Oakley (AAD ’18, AD ’19-’21) is a Professor of Chemistry at Indiana University, where I have been since 1996. I have twice served as Associate Chair for Teaching and Curriculum in Chemistry, where I led the first overhaul of our undergraduate curriculum in over forty years, and I have also served as Director of Graduate Studies and Interim Director of the Interdepartmental Graduate Biochemistry Program. Since 2021, I have served as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at IU.
My research interests are in protein structure and function. I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses, and have received faculty- and student-nominated teaching awards, including the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2020), the highest teaching award the university offers. I am deeply involved in efforts to improve equity and effectiveness in undergraduate education in STEM, both through my role at in the Vice Provost’s office and through participation in multi-university initiatives such as the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Initiative and the Bayview Alliance. I credit SSP with changing my philosophy on grading; I have implemented a mastery-based grading approach in a section of our general chemistry course.
Miruna Oprescu ’09 (a graduate of Harvard College in Physics and Computer Science) Miruna, a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Cornell University, focuses on designing robust and equitable machine learning algorithms. Having been positively impacted by SSP as a low-income international student, Miruna is deeply committed to promoting science education. She aims to contribute her expertise and advocate for equitable access to science education as a member of the SSP Board of Trustees.
Helen Shin ’82 is General Counsel at QP Global Family Offices in New York City. She earned an AB (joint concentration in both History & Science and Physics) at Harvard University, and a JD at the University of California, Berkeley. She was previously an Associate General Counsel at The Jones Group/Nine West Holdings, specializing in corporate finance and international projects, and trained at the law firms Debevoise & Plimpton and Howard Smith & Levin. She has sung for over 25 years with MasterVoices, an acclaimed performing-arts group led by Tony Award-winning musical director Ted Sperling.
Karl Sun is the first SSP parent to join the Board; his son attended in 2017. Karl is co-founder and CEO of Lucid Software, creators of Lucidchart and Lucidpress. Previously, he joined Google as an early employee and led various projects such as starting Google’s patent department and setting patent and IP strategy, starting the company’s China office and leading business development, and leading Google’s investments in renewable energy technologies. Karl holds a B.S. and M.S. in EECS and an M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He was honored as a Utah Business CEO of the Year and EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.
Michael Weiss ’74 is the Robert A. Harris Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University, School of Medicine. Holding 17 issued or pending patents in insulin technologies, he is a founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Thermalin, Inc. Elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (1991) and American Association of Physicians (2000), Dr. Weiss is a Trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and oversees its Health Advisory Committee. A former member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, he is a current Trustee of the Presidential Scholars Foundation. Dr. Weiss is past Chair of the NIDDK Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institutes of Health