LEADERSHIP 2018-2019


Yvana Ahdab


Yvana is PhD student in the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering, working on batch reverse osmosis systems for water desalination. She completed her SM at MIT on the minimum energy requirements for groundwater desalination in the continental United States. Prior to attending MIT, Yvana received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. As an undergraduate, she conducted research on the effects of chemical treatment and ocean currents on oil dispersion and worked on the development of an energy harvesting cooling device.

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Alexandre Tuel


Alexandre is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. He joined the Eltahir Group in 2016 to work on a project focusing on climate change in Morocco and the Mediterranean. He is trying to explain why the Mediterranean is such a climate change hotspot, and what different dynamics are at play in this large region to reduce precipitation in climate models. Prior to coming to MIT, Alexandre obtained a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in Engineering from École Polytechnique.

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Aarti Dwivedi

MIT Water Summit Co-Director

Aarti is a PhD student in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. Prior to attending MIT, she completed Integrated Masters in Technology in Geophysics at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. Her research is in crustal deformation, and she has done field work and studied hydrological systems in Antarctica, and St. Lucia.

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Janelle Heslop

MIT Water Innovation Prize Co-Director

Janelle is a Leaders for Global Operations Fellow at MIT, pursuing an SM in Civil and Environmental Engineering and an MBA.  Before MIT, Janelle was a Senior Associate at Veolia, a leading global water services company, where she managed a large-scale transformation program for NYC’s water utility. Previously, Janelle was a management consultant at GreenOrder, advising Fortune 500 companies on their sustainability strategies. In 2013, The Guardian named Janelle one of twitter’s "30 most influential sustainability voices" and in 2016 she was named one of Greenbiz’s 30 Under 30 emerging sustainability leaders. She graduated with distinction from Columbia University, receiving a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering. Janelle is passionate about ideas at the intersection of water innovation and prosperous communities.  

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Rajlakshmi De

MIT Water Innovation Prize Co-Director

Raj is a second-year MBA Candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management. Her interests include international development, sustainability, technology and analytics. She completed her undergraduate degree in economics at Duke University, and spent three years as a researcher at Stanford Law School and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As a researcher, Raj studied water infrastructure, health, and education in Malawi, innovation in Kenya and Uganda, and financial instruments in rural India. She has also worked with LinkedIn to measure gendered differences in professional self-promotion. At Sloan, Raj plans to help develop technology products that provide improved access to health, water, and sanitation around the world.

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Andrew Bouma

MIT Water Night Co-Director

Andrew received his bachelor’s degree in engineering with a mechanical concentration from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his S.M in mechanical engineering from MIT. He is now working on his PhD at MIT, studying the energy efficiency and thermodynamics of desalination and brine concentration technologies. “I’ve enjoyed working with all the passionate and curious people involved with the Water Club. Thinking about and working on water issues that go far beyond the scope of my research topic has helped me to better understand the bigger picture and context in which I’m working and helped me to make valuable connections outside my own research area.”

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Ana Guedes

MIT Water Night Co-Director

Ana is a Civil Engineer and has recently finished her master's degree in hydraulics and sanitary engineering at the São Carlos School of Engineering – University of São Paulo (Brazil). Her research is focused on groundwater mechanics and concerns a theoretical and small-scale experimental study of a high permeability vertical barrier to encapsulate contaminated areas in aquifers.


Anselmo Cassiano.jpg

Anselmo Cassiano

Lunch & Learn Chair

Anselmo Cassiano holds an MBA in corporate communication FIA/USP.  He is a specialist in negotiation, mediation, crisis emergency and business continuity at MIT.  He has worked in conflict management at Princeton University and in strategy, conflict and cooperation with the Harvard Economics Department.  Previously, he served as 1st Lieutenant while working in the UN Peacekeepers Force in East Timor.

Anselmo loves sports.  He is currently captain of the MIT Shotokan Karate and the Triathlon Teams.  He volunteers with the  MIT co-ed sailing and tennis programs.  Finally, as a Brazilian, Anselmo is crazy about soccer.

At MIT, he studies as a Research Affiliate in Water and Climate Change.  Specifically working with the WASH-Env Water Sanitation Hygiene Environment Innovation program in developing countries.

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Quantum Wei

Webmaster, Marketing

Quantum is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, studying energy-efficient water desalination.  His current work focuses on batch reverse osmosis systems.  He is also interested in science & technology policy and public outreach.  He earned his SM and SB at MIT in mechanical engineering. 

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Zona Liu

MIT Water Innovation Prize, VP Growth

Zona is a first-year MBA candidate at MIT Sloan. Prior to Sloan, she has led the business development team at HAX (SOSV), the world's largest hardware accelerator-based venture capital fund, working closely with IoT startups across sectors, including consumer, healthcare to industrial robotics. Before HAX, she has spent five years in Principal Strategic Investment team at Goldman Sachs, driving FinTech venture investments in Asia Pacific and structuring strategic partnerships. Zona graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Hong Kong, earning a Bachelor of Economics & Finance as well as Minor in Mathematics. In her spare time, Zona is an enthusiastic scuba diver and has been certified as PADI Divemaster as part of her journey in exploring the blue.

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Javier Renna

MIT Water Innovation Prize, VP Partnerships

Javier is a first-year MBA candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management. Javier started his career in investment banking at JP Morgan in Argentina and New York, where he covered clients in the retail and consumer space. After four years, he decided to follow his passion for water sports and sustainability, and partnered with a friend to build a startup making bags and backpacks out of reused kitesurf and boat sails. At MIT, Javier wants to get involved with the water community and find innovative startups that are helping to solve different problems in this space. He graduated with distinctions from McGill University (Montreal, Canada), receiving a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Javier loves the outdoors and has a passion for water sports, mainly surfing and waterskiing.

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Jeffrey Tedmori

MIT Water Innovation Prize, VP Business Development

Jeff is a first-year MBA candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management pursuing the Sustainability Certificate. Prior to Sloan, Jeff was living in Southern California, working for Patagonia in various functions including accounting, Finance, and most recently Corporate Development. As a member of the Corporate Development Team, Jeff was conducting due diligence and managing deal flow for Patagonia’s Corporate VC, Tin Shed Ventures. At MIT, Jeff plans to focus on impact-driven startups in the water space that address global issues related to fisheries and marine plastic pollution. Jeff is an avid outdoorsman with a passion for backpacking (John Muir Trail, 2018) and all hobbies related to the ocean: fishing, diving, surfing, and sailing. Jeff’s internal mission is to use business to preserve the world's oceans.

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Somesh Mohapatra

MIT Water Summit

Somesh Mohapatra is a current PhD Candidate at Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his BTech courses in 3 years in 2017, and tried his hands at Bioinformatics in Okinawa (Japan), a government job at UIDAI, and algorithmic trading in Singapore, before diving into the PhD program in the Summer of 2018. Apart from the labs, he can be found on the squash court, sailing on the Charles, cooking in the kitchen or immersed in a discussion on contemporary relevance of spirituality and philosophy at MIT.

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