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Alda Center Team

  • Alan Alda's picture

    Alan Alda

    Alan Alda, actor and writer, has had a lifelong interest in science. He hosted PBS’ Scientific American Frontiers from 1993 to 2005, an experience he has called “one of the best things I ever did in front of a camera.”

  • Laura Lindenfeld's picture

    Laura Lindenfeld, PhD

    Dr. Laura Lindenfeld is director of the Alda Center and professor in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of California, Davis. As a communication researcher, her work draws inspiration from the idea that we can make better, more informed decisions about how we shape our collective future. 

  • Valeri Lantz-Gefroh's picture

    Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, MFA

    Val is a Lecturer in the School of Journalism where she serves as the Improvisation Program Director in the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. She teaches workshops and graduate courses at Stony Brook University and School of Medicine, and travels around the country teaching improvisation at other universities, medical schools, hospitals, conferences and labs. 

  • Christine O'Connell's picture

    Christine O'Connell, PhD

    Dr. Christine O’Connell is an Assistant Professor of Science Communication at the Alda Center and School of Journalism where she works on improving STEM communication to the public and engagement with the community. Christine was the Alda Center’s founding Associate Director where she worked to build the Center and its curriculum to international renown.

  • Graham Chedd's picture

    Graham Chedd

    Graham Chedd is a Visiting Professor at the Alda Center. He was a member of the team that founded NOVA in the early 1970s, and was that series’ first science editor and later producer. He co-founded the Chedd-Angier Production Company, where he produced over 100 hours of science television for PBS, including 11 seasons of Scientific American Frontiers and the miniseries The Human Spark and Brains on Trial, all hosted by Alan Alda.

  • Christina Anselmo's picture

    Christina Anselmo, MA

    Christina Kenny Anselmo became involved in the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science in 2012 when she coordinated the first Flame Challenge contest.  She became a full-time associate in 2014 and is responsible for the Center’s financial management and event planning.

  • Kate Fullam's picture

    Kate Fullam, MNA

    As Communications Manager for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Kate Fullam is responsible for developing online instructional and community-building activities for the Alda-Kavli Learning Center, an interactive website that will engage scientists and health professionals, serve a growing network of affiliated programs around the country and create a clearinghouse for best practices in science communication.

  • Lorien Reese Mahay's picture

    Lorien Reese Mahay, MFA

    As Workshops Supervisor for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Lorien Reese Mahay is responsible for booking and facilitating the Alda Center’s workshops and presentations at universities, labs, and other institutions around the globe. 

  • Brooke Banfi's picture

    Brooke Banfi

    Brooke Banfi joined the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science in 2016 as an Administrative Assistant. Her role includes performing administrative and office support activities for the Alda Center, calendar management, making travel and meeting arrangements, and event planning.

  • Chris Bill's picture

    Chris Bill

    Chris Bill is a Communications Assistant who lends his creative perspective and organizational skills in the planning, implementation, and marketing of Alda Center outreach and online training events. He also curates content for the Alda Center's social media accounts. By training, Chris is a DMA candidate in Jazz Studies and Performance at Stony Brook University. He brings a unique perspective to the Alda Center, blending performance art and science communication.

  • Anthony Gould's picture

    Anthony Gould

    Anthony Gould is a Graduate Assistant for the Alan Alda Center's workshops office. His main responsibilities include workshop and logistics planning. Additionally, he serves as the liaison between institutions and instructors, ensuring that all meetings and communications are running smoothly. 

  • Rachael Coccia's picture

    Rachael Coccia

    Rachael Coccia is excited to be part of the Alda Center's team as coordinator for The Flame Challenge 2017. This international competition challenges scientists to explain a scientific question (e.g., "What is a flame?") to 11-year-olds around the world in accurate, entertaining, and interactive ways. Her responsibilities include promoting the challenge to schools and scientists, compiling contest entries, organizing results, engaging the participants, and coordinating involvement in the Worldwide Assembly and World Science Festival. 

  • LizBass's picture

    Elizabeth Bass, MPH

    Elizabeth Bass, MPH, is the director emerita of the Alda Center. Starting from its earliest days in 2009, she led development of the Center’s workshops, courses, outreach activities and affiliation network.  These activities have reached more than 500 science graduate students at Stony Brook and hundreds of scientists at other institutions around the country.

  • Ljohnson's picture

    Louisa Johnson, MFA

    Louisa Johnson grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and attended LaGuardia Arts High School with a concentration in Theater Arts. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University in Theater Arts and Philosophy, and her Masters degree from NYU Tisch in Acting. Louisa now teaches Improvisation for Scientists to graduate students and works with scientists nationwide for the Alda Center. 

Alda Center Faculty

  • Lydia Franco-Hodges's picture

    Lydia Franco-Hodges, MFA

    Improvisation Instructor

    Lydia Franco-Hodges, MFA, works with scientists throughout the country enhancing their communication skills through improvisation and theater techniques. Lydia is an associate of the Alan Alda Center, a lecturer in the School of Journalism, and an actor and theater-maker. She teaches graduate courses for the Alda Center at Stony Brook University. Lydia has taught acting, movement and performance at the university for many years and applauds the work created by her students.

Alda Center Instructors

  • Elizabeth Bojsza's picture

    Elizabeth Bojsza


  • Dcalvitto's picture

    David Calvitto


    David Calvitto is an improvisation instructor for the Alda Center Workshops on the Road. He is primarily an actor and theater director.

  • RFirstman's picture

    Richard Firstman


    Rick Firstman is a journalist, author and adjunct professor who teaches in the Stony Brook University graduate program in science journalism. He also teaches the Communicating Science: Introduction to News Media Concepts and Institutions class for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. In addition, he leads workshops in Distilling Your Message for the Alda Center.

  • Carolyn Hall's picture

    Carolyn Hall

    Workshop Instructor

    Carolyn Hall, based in New York City, is a marine ecologist and a professional contemporary dancer. She earned her M.S. in Marine Science from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, NY, and works as an independent researcher and consultant on various projects.

  • RKhamsi's picture

    Roxanne Khamsi


    Roxanne Khamsi is a science journalist and editor who teaches the Distilling Your Message course for the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Economist, Popular Science, Scientific American, Slate and The New York Times Magazine.

  • Holly Kerby's picture

    Holly Kerby


    Holly Walter Kerby is the founder and Executive Director of Fusion Science Theater (FST), a cross-disciplinary organization that uses the elements of story to create methods and forms that communicate and teach science to public audiences. 

  • KLucenko's picture

    Kristina Lucenko, PhD


    Kristina Lucenko, PhD, is Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University. She regularly teaches Communicating Science: Writing to be Understood, the graduate-level writing course for the Alda Center, and Graduate-Level Writing Across the Disciplines for the Program in Writing and Rhetoric.

  • SMarsh's picture

    Steve Marsh, MFA

    Improvisation Instructor

    Steve Marsh is an actor and dramaturg who teaches both subjects at Stony Brook University’s department of Theatre Arts. He received a BFA in Acting at NYU in 1981 and an MFA at the State University of New York in Dramaturgy in 1999. He helped co-founded the Asylum Theatre Company, an Equity company on Long Island, and teaches various theatre arts disciplines at Stony Brook University. 

  • DMayo's picture

    Deborah Mayo, MFA

    Improvisation Instructor

    Deborah Mayo, MFA, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at Stony Brook University. She has taught all levels of acting, voice, improvisation and public speaking. She has directed a dozen main stage plays and more than 10 original productions of Performance Workshop, the department’s educational outreach program. 

  • Rory O'Connor's picture

    Rory O'Connor


    Rory O’Connor is an Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science workshop instructor. He’s also an award-winning author, journalist and filmmaker whose programming has aired in more than one hundred countries on networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and FOX in the U.S., and BBC, RAI, NHK, National Geographic and other international outlets.

  • Sreiner's picture

    Steven Reiner

    Workshop Instructor

    Steven Reiner, an associate professor of broadcast journalism at Stony Brook University, spent two decades as a senior producer, producer and director at CBS News, covering many of the major news events of the last two decades. Working with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, he has led workshops in Distilling Your Message and Dealing with the Media for scientists, health professionals and science students.

  • Jtimmer's picture

    John Timmer, PhD


    John is the science editor of Ars Technica, a leading online publication in science and technology news and innovation. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has done over a decade’s worth of research in genetics and developmental biology at places like Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. 

  • Terry Greiss's picture

    Terry Greiss

    Improvisation Instuctor, Actor

    Terry is a co-founder of Brooklyn’s Irondale Ensemble Project where he is also an actor and the Executive Director. He has performed in more than 60 roles with the company, and is a creator of most of Irondale’s original plays and education programs. Away from Irondale he has performed at the Manhattan Theatre Club and the Cincinnati Playhouse, in Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation of Three Sisters, directed by John Doyle.

  • Celia Schaefer's picture

    Celia Schaefer

    Improvisation Instructor

    Celia Schaefer is an Alda Center Improvisation Instructor. She is also a New York-based actor, working on stage and in film and television, and a teacher at the independent professional actor training center, the McCaskill Studio.