LEADERSHIP 2016-2017


Brendan Smith


Brendan is a fourth year PhD student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. His research focuses on the experimental fabrication of nanoporous materials for applications in water filtration and energy generation and storage. His primary interest is bridging the gap between emerging disruptive technologies and the real world applications where they can make a difference. He is also very interested in entrepreneurship, sustainability, and policy!

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Krithika Ramchander


Krithika is a Master’s student in the Mechanical Engineering Department currently working on the development of water filters using plant tissue. She is also a fellow with the TATA Center for Technology and Design. Prior to MIT, Krithika worked with Shell for a year and completed her Bachelor’s from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

Email  |  Tata Center Profile  |  LinkedIn 

Deepa Rao

Co-Vice President

Deepa is a graduate student in Biological Oceanography at the MIT-WHOI Joint Program for Oceanography, where she focuses on modeling the microbial ecology of the ocean. Another one of her missions is to better communicate ocean science to the public. She received a B.S. in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science from MIT. Prior to returning to Cambridge, Deepa spent two years in Washington D.C. getting her M.A. in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University. She enjoys outdoor adventures, nature documentaries, and watercoloring.



Quantum Wei

Co-Vice President

Quantum is a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT, where he researches the energy-efficient design of reverse osmosis systems. He received his SB at MIT in Mechanical Engineering. In the past, Quantum's work at Microsoft and NASA has focused on thermal-fluids modeling. He enjoys cooking, teaching, and playing sports.

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Gualtiero Jaeger

MIT Water Summit Director

Gualtiero is a PhD Candidate in the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, studying physical oceanography. His research takes him to the Indian Ocean, with an international project aiming to better understand the ocean’s role in the regional Monsoon rainfall patterns. Born in Brazil but lived most his life in Switzerland, he received a Bachelor in Physics from the University of California Santa Barbara, after which he switched the sunny west coast for the temperamental east coast. Salty water is his passion.

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Scott McArthur

Water Innovation Prize Co-Director

Scott is a second year student in the Leaders for Global Operations program at MIT, pursuing his MBA at MIT Sloan and MS in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Energy and the Environment. Prior to MIT, Scott worked for AB InBev brewing beer (which is 93% water) and managing logistics at AB InBev’s Merrimack, NH Brewery. Scott graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical and Biological Engineering where he led the Tufts chapter of Engineers Without Borders on water projects in Uganda and El Salvador. Scott originally hails from Colorado, is a qualifier for the 2017 Boston Marathon and loves to travel.

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Cindy Noe

Water Innovation Prize Co-Director

Cindy is passionate about sustainability and social justice, with a specific interest in water management and conservation. She is pursuing a dual MBA/Master in Public Administration between Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to Sloan, she worked for Deloitte Consulting and advised strategy and operations of U.S. Government agencies. She has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and has experience leading volunteer and research projects in marginalized communities in Latin America and China. In addition to her role with the MIT Water Innovation Prize, she is Co-Director of the MIT Sloan Net Impact and sings in the MIT Women’s Chorale.

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Andrea Beck

Lecture Series Co-Chair & Lunch and Learn Co-Chair

Andrea is a second-year PhD student in the Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) group at MIT. Her research examines the relationship between law and social and institutional change, with a particular focus on water at different scales. At MIT, she is affiliated with the Science Impact Collaborative and the Water Diplomacy Workshop. In the past, Andrea worked in various professional and research capacities in water-related projects in Germany, Israel, and Tanzania, with a particular focus on climate change adaptation in the water sector. Andrea received a M.Sc. in Bioresource Engineering (Integrated Water Resources Management) from McGill University, a M.A. in International Peace and Security from King’s College London, and a B.A. in Political Science from the Free University of Berlin. In 2016, Andrea was selected to join the Stockholm World Water Week as a junior rapporteur. 



Samantha McBride

Lecture Series Co-Chair

Samantha received her B.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno and her M.S. in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her past research includes emerging water contaminants, environmental fate and transport, and renewable energy. She is currently working on her PhD at MIT investigating novel materials for desalination applications. 

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Rachel Schmidt 

Finance & Sponsorship Chair

Rachel graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2012 with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  Following graduation, Rachel lived in South Africa for one year while completing a Fulbright Scholarship.  Rachel worked with local female potters to develop ceramic water filtration units, maintain water quality testing and control, apply for funding, and start a small business.  Rachel has since worked with UVA professors and alumni to help develop a nonprofit organization to support filter creation in South Africa.  Following South Africa, Rachel lived in Denver, Colorado for three years working for Arcadis, a global engineering and consulting firm.  Rachel worked in the Water Business Line to design, construct, and operate water treatment plants for municipal and industrial clients in the southwest.  Rachel is currently pursuing an MBA and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT as a member of the Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) Program.

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Isadora Cruxen

Media & Communications Director

Isadora is a PhD candidate in urban studies and international development, focusing on urban water supply governance and sustainable water resources management in the Global South. Originally from Brazil, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Brasília and a Master in City Planning from MIT/DUSP. Prior to MIT, Isadora worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Applied Economic Research in Brazil on projects about public participation in policy development. She has previously served as Co-Vice President and Lecture Series Chair of the MIT Water Club.

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Leonardo Banchik

Strategic advisor

Leo is a PhD candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow who is aiming to improve the performance of membrane-based desalination technologies. As a Master’s student, he studied osmotic mass exchangers for use in desalination, energy recovery, and power production. Prior to joining the group, Leo worked at two national labs; received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and received an M.S. from MIT in 2013. Leo served as Co-President of the Water Club between 2014-2015.

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