2017/2018 Scholars

Devin Bunten

 Devin Bunten

Assistant Professor of Urban Economics and Housing


Email: bunten@mit.edu

Simmons Hall: W79-528 B

MIT Office: 9-519




Housing Markets, Policy, and Social Stratification


Microeconomics /Planning Economics






Her research uses economic theory and tools to study a range of urban topics, including gentrification and neighborhood change, restrictive zoning, and urban economic history.  In addition to her own research, she teaches courses on “Housing Markets, Policy, and Social Stratification” (11.S946) and “Microeconomics /Planning Economics” (11.203/11.202).

Previously, she was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC and completed a PhD (UCLA, 2016) and an MA (Colorado State, 2010) in economics. Her BA (University of Colorado-Denver, 2005) was in film studies. She also helped co-found the group Abundant Housing Los Angeles to organize for more housing production in the LA region.

Areas of Interest
Economic Development, Government, History and Theory of Planning, Housing, Urban Finance, Management, and Urban Economics


Resident Scholar Programming Ideas



Marzyeh Ghassemi

Karilyn Crockett, Ph.D

Lecturer of Public Policy and Urban Planning


Simmons Hall: W79-436C

Email: kcrock@mit.edu

MIT Office:  32-257

Research Focus

I’m interested in creating and applying machine learning algorithms towards improved prediction and stratification of relevant human risks. 


At present, I am a Visiting Researcher with Google's Verily and a post-doc with Dr. Peter Szolovits in MEDG (CV); in Fall 2018 I will be joining the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Medicine, affiliated with the Vector Institute. 

I have worked with Dr. John Guttag at CSAIL, and have clinical collaborations at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. I've organized the NIPS 2014 Women in Machine Learning Workshop, the NIPS 2016 Workshop on Machine Learning for Health, and MIT's first Hacking Discrimination event.


Resident Scholar Programming Ideas

AI and Healthcare Panel: ​Machine Learning has become increasingly popular, and recently has stormed into healthcare. We invite top researchers in AI and Healthcare to a panel discussion on the current and future state of AI in healthcare. This would require space and refreshments, perhaps a dinner with the speakers as well?


Intro into Version Control Workshop: ​It is important to anyone that may want to store incremental changes to anything they do on a computer (not just developers). This workshop will cover a basic introduction into what version control is and why you should want to use it. The examples will be in Git, but the concepts should apply to any version
control system.


Mindfullness Meditation Workshop: ​Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. This workshop would focus on guided mindfulness to reduce stress and focus on healthier relationships.The format will be a mixture of meditation and discussion, focused around a specific topic. We can work out the specifics with MIT medical.


Local Hiking:​ Taking a trip out to the Blue Hills, Quincy Quarries, and Buck Hill for a hike and picnic on a weekend day. Being outdoors is relaxing, and can help students re-focus and deal with stress in their lives. This would require transportation for students who don’t have access to a car. I would also like to get sandwiches/water to bring for the students who get hungry after the hike.


Noruz (Persian New Year) Celebration:​ Nowruz is the name of Persian new year celebrated by Iranians and other ethno-linguistic groups as the beginning of the New Year. The students can gain exposure to a different culture by painting noruz eggs, making a sofra (spread) to welcome the new year, and experiencing a selection of Iranian pastries. We would need egg-dying supplies, some money for food, and some materials to make mini-sofras.


Henna Night: ​Henna is a non-toxic temporary tattoo traditionally done in the middle east during times of celebration. We would hire a local henna artist for a couple of hours to come give everyone a small henna tattoo that will last for 1-2 weeks. The tattoos have to dry, which is a really ideal time to chat with others, have some tea, and unwind.

Supawadee Chawanthayatham

Supawadee  Chawanthayatham, PhD

MIT Research Scientist
Department of Biological Engineering

Simmons Hall Address: W79-480C
MIT Office: 56-654

Research Focus

Apple studies why young animals are more sensitive to drugs and environmental toxins than older ones. Her research probes the basic mechanisms underlying this early life window of susceptibility.  She uses modern informatics tools to determine how early in life the “genetic signatures” of later life diseases appear. These signatures become biomarkers we can eventually use to develop disease-prevention strategies. 

Resident Scholar Programming Ideas

Authentic Thai-Canadian Cooking: Apple’s family ran a restaurant in Thailand where she helped out and learned many of the traditional Thai recipes.  She would be happy to teach the residents to make a few dishes such as Thai Curry, Tom Yum Soup, or Pad Thai.    We plan to teach students how to cook Thai style.   Pierre (a Canadian-American) could do a similar cooking event for Poutine, a Canadian Dish with French fries, gravy, and cheese curds.  It is delicious in the winter months!

“Sponge Bob Square Brunch” Outings:  A series of outings where a small group of residents go for brunch.  Each outing could visit a different “square” in the surrounding area such as Harvard Square, Central Square, Union Square, Haymarket Square, Kenmore Square, Copley Square, Park Square, etc.  This would help the residents explore unique areas beyond the campus and meet new people at brunch.

Exercise:  One of Apple’s favorite hobbies is daily exercise, which helps her feel good throughout the day.  She has taken many exercise classes for yoga, barre, indoor cycling, suspension training (TRX), and weight lifting.  She would like to encourage the residents to try new forms of exercise and integrate exercise into their everyday life.

Post Graduate Advice: Apple has had a unique graduate school experiences that she is eager to share with the residents.  Apple attended graduate school in Thailand and completed her graduate research as an exchange student at MIT.  The MIT Thailand Research Opportunity Program (ThaiROP) is a summer research opportunity for MIT students at my graduate school in Thailand, which she has helped organize and run since 2011.  She will offer residents advice on travel, study or work in Thailand as well as the THAIROP program.  

Invited Lectures: Apple plans to invite my friend Dr. Jessica R. Allegretti, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to give a lecture on fecal micro biota transplantation.  This is a fascinating new therapy for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  A second example from the same theme, will be to invite Dr. Susan Erdman of MIT, who has spoken at Simmons twice in the past. Susan and Apple work together on a daily basis are close colleagues.

Movie Nights: Apple loves watching movies and would enjoy hosting movie nights.

Justin Steil
Justin Steil, JD PhD
MIT Professor of Law & Urban Studies
Ana Muñoz, JD


Justin’s Email: steil@mit.edu
Simmons Hall: W79-880C
Office (Justin): 9-515


11.148 / 11.368 Environmental Justice: Law and Policy
11.401 Introduction to Housing, Community and Economic Development
11.469 Urban Sociology in Theory and Practice
11.S197 / 11.S945 Cities and Immigration: Law and Policy
11.S942 Designing Policy Relevant Research in Housing and Community Development

Research Focus

Justin studies the intersection of law and urban policy.  He is particularly interested in how law and policy influence social stratification and spatial dimensions of inequality.  Before graduate school, Justin worked as a community-based planner for an environmental justice organization focusing on brownfield redevelopment, as the advocacy director for a non-profit fighting predatory lending practices, as the program manager for a project bringing youth and prisoners into critical dialogues about justice, and of the trainer for a domestic violence crisis center instructing police in Ciudad Juárez how to support of survivors of sexual assault.

Ana is a civil rights lawyer.  For the last twelve years (aside from three years of law school), she’s worked with social justice organizations in New York on issues ranging from voting rights to deportation defense to criminal justice reform.

Resident Scholar Programming Ideas

Theater: Justin and Ana love theater.  In September 2016, Justin took a number of Simmons residents to see Anna Deavere Smith’s play “Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education” at the ART theater in Cambridge.  They look forward to going to more plays in the months to come with Sims!

Walking tours: Justin still vividly remembers walking Boston’s somewhat lesser known Freedom Trail, the Black Heritage Trail two decades ago.  In September he led a dozen Simmons residents across the Longfellow Bridge to Beacon Hill for a National Park Service tour of the Boston African American National Historic Site, beginning at the 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial (across from the State House) and ending at the African Meeting House where Frederick Douglass often spoke.

Civic engagement: Justin and Ana are passionate about civic engagement and voting rights.  With GRT Parrish Bergquist, they are arranging visits from some of the nation’s leading political scientists for talks and dinner with Simmons students before and after the November 2016 election.  The first talk will introduce some political science perspectives on what to expect in the final weeks before the vote.  The second one will help make sense of what happened!

Urban agriculture: Getting outside and doing work in a garden can be a great context in which to get to know each other and put studies in perspective.  Justin used to work at the Food Project, a local organization dedicated to promoting personal and social change through sustainable agriculture.  In the spring, he hopes to take a group of Simmons students to one of the Food Project’s farms or gardens in Dorchester, Lincoln, Lynn, or Beverly to build a sense of teamwork and to prepare, plant, or weed beds.  

Urban infrastructure: Justin is fascinated by how cities how cities work, especially the infrastructure that keeps cities functioning on a day to day basis and that keep water flowing through our pipes, electricity running through our wires, and waste flowing out through our sewage lines. He looks forward to taking a group of students to the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority sewage treatment plant on Deer Island to learn about the biological and chemical processes involved in the “digester eggs” that disinfect the city’s sewage and discharges it.  Or if sewage doesn’t appeal, we could potentially visit one of the MWRA drinking water treatment plants and learn about the infrastructure involved in getting potable water to the region’s residents.

Boston Harbor: To get outdoors a little, Justin and Ana hope to take Simmons residents to some of Boston’s Harbor Islands, such as George’s Island, Peddock’s Island, or Spectacle Island.  Spectacle Island once included a quarantine hospital, a grease reclamation plant, and a landfill, but now is a park with beautiful views of the city and lots of space for walking, swimming, and games. Little Brewster Island is home to the oldest light station in the United States, and the National Park Service provides tours of the harbor, and the U.S. Coast Guard light keeper provides an introduction to the light house.

Invited Lectures: Justin and Ana plan to invite Professor Alvaro Muñoz from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to speak about his work in biostatistics and epidemiology including research on HIV/AIDS, liver disease, and chronic kidney disease.

Post Graduate Advice: Justin and Ana have a few graduate experiences they are happy to share.  Justin originally studied City Design, intending to practice as an urban planner but he eventually realized that he wanted to research and teach and returned to school to complete a J.D./Ph.D.  Ana originally considered doing a J.D./Ph.D. but then realized that she wanted to practice law and has worked as a civil rights lawyer since.  We both welcome the opportunity to talk with Simmons residents about what happens after graduation and about graduate school.