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School of Engineering

Leadership Team

Under the supervision of the Dean, the leadership at Tufts School of Engineering consists of Associate Deans and Directors, representing their respective areas of responsibility within the schools. These leaders work together as a team to promote and advance best practices of academic administration within the school.

John Barker John Barker, Dean of International Education and Extended Programming
John Barker arrived at Tufts in 2012 and served most recently as the dean of undergraduate and graduate students. In his current role, Barker has overall responsibility for strengthening and enhancing our study abroad programs, the International Center, international partnerships, conferences and event services, summer session, and the Confucius Institute.

Prior to his arrival at Tufts, Barker was assistant provost of undergraduate education at the University of Miami in Florida, with the scope of university-wide responsibilities in the areas of undergraduate research, diversity, academic counseling and advocacy, and academic achievement. He was also the founding director of the Office of Academic Enhancement. His overall portfolio included the honors program; multicultural student affairs; programs of academic excellence; and the academic and career advisors in residence, academic fellows, special interest housing, and prestigious awards and scholarships.

In addition, Barker served as a faculty master for one of the University of Miami's residential colleges and as an adjunct faculty member in the university's Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, in Miami's School of Education. A graduate of the State University of New York Oswego where he majored in political science and history, Barker holds a doctorate in higher education from the University of Rochester.

Cynthia LuBienCynthia LuBien, Senior Director of Development
Cindy LuBien is the Senior Director of Development for Tufts School of Engineering since January 2011. Cindy LuBien to Tufts from the Perkins School for the Blind, where she served as the director of campaign and major gifts, overseeing a $130 million campaign. Prior to that position, she worked at MIT in several different capacities, including: senior director for strategic initiatives in the Office of the Associate Provost and the Center for Cancer Research, where she launched a broad-based fundraising campaign to support the new David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; assistant dean for development in the School of Science, where she managed a campaign to expand endowment and operating support from individuals, corporations, and foundations; director of development in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where she was responsible for all fundraising activities of the division which required coordinating an ongoing collaborative relationship between the two universities; and manager of corporate relations in the MIT Industrial Liaison Program, where she worked with a portfolio of American and European corporations. LuBien received her B.S. in chemistry from Purdue University and Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from MIT. She completed an MBA at Southern Methodist University.

Mary Pat McMahonMary Pat McMahon, Dean of Student Affairs
Mary Pat McMahon came to Tufts in 2014 from Bowdoin College, where she held various roles with responsibility for building an inclusive learning community and supporting individual students for nearly 12 years. Prior to Bowdoin, she was associate director of the doctoral program at New York University Stern School of Business, and earlier was the assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Yale. At Tufts, McMahon oversees the Division of Student Affairs, including career services, student accessibility, campus and residential life, and health and counseling services. Under her leadership of these critical areas, she shares responsibility for addressing matters concerning judicial affairs, social justice, diversity and inclusion, civility, and leadership development. She is further involved in fostering meaningful growth and connection in the undergraduate and graduate student co-curricular experience.

Fiorenzo OmenettoFiorenzo Omenetto, Associate Dean for Research
Fio Omenetto, Associate Dean for Research, is the Frank C. Doble Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The School of Engineering Office of Research is responsible for creating a supportive environment to enhance research productivity and active scholarship. It initiates, supports and sustains programs and activities to increase faculty participation in research with an emphasis on collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts. The Office of Research is also responsible for working with the remainder of the Dean's Office to effectively communicate both internally and externally the many advances made by faculty and students.

Omenetto received his doctorate at Universita' di Pavia, Italy, in electrical engineering and applied physics. Omenetto's research is heavily focused on interdisciplinary themes that span nonlinear optics, nanostructured materials (such as photonic crystals and photonic crystal fibers), optofluidics and biopolymer based photonics. His Silk Lab has pioneered the use of silk as a material platform for photonics, optoelectronics and high-technology applications and is actively investigating novel applications that rely on this new technology base. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America. In 2011, he was named a Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Karen Panetta, Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Karen Panetta received a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. Her research focuses on developing efficient algorithms for simulation, modeling, signal and image processing for security and biomedical applications. Panetta is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was awarded the 2013 IEEE Award for Distinguished Ethical Practices for exemplary contributions and leadership in developing ethics and social responsibility in students. Her volunteer service with the IEEE has brought much collaboration and increased exposure to Tufts University. Her commitment to promoting the interests of the university is also evident in her service on the AS&E Executive Committee and as its liaison to the Trustee University Advancement Committee.

Panetta is the recipient of several NASA and National Science Foundation Research Grants, including the NSF CAREER Award. As the first female electrical engineer to be given tenure in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, Panetta continues to promote the interests of women in her field. She was the worldwide director for IEEE Women in Engineering, the largest international professional organization dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists, from 2007-2009, and served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Women in Engineering magazine. She is the faculty adviser to the Tufts student chapters of both the Society of Women Engineers and the IEEE, and is founder of the nationally acclaimed "Nerd Girls" program that promotes the engineering disciplines to young students. She currently advises over 30 undergraduate and graduate students. Panetta has been recognized for her commitment to education with awards such as the Madeline and Henry Fischer Best Engineering Teacher Award in 2003, the IEEE Major Educational Innovation Award in 2010, and the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award for Social Impact in 2011. In 2010, she received the American Association of Engineering Societies' Norm Augustine Award for communicating the excitement of engineering through outreach activities that promote careers in science and engineering, and encourage youth to improve the environment and change the lives of individuals and communities. Most notably, in 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Panetta the Presidential Award for Science and Engineering Education and Mentoring.

Merredith PortsmoreMerredith Portsmore, Director, Center for Engineering Education and Outreach
Merredith Portsmore is the director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). With funding from the LLL Foundation, Merredith started the Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP) in 2001. The program now has reached more than 3,500 students in the Boston area, engaging roughly 60 Tufts students each year as STOMP fellows. She is currently a 100K in 10 fellow in engineering education, serves on the K-12 Division Board for the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), and provides guidance on incorporating K-12 outreach into faculty research grants. Merredith was also the driving force behind the development of the CEEO's new online engineering education certificate program. Merredith earned both a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1998. Merredith has also received her M.A. in Education from Tufts University in 1999. She completed her PhD in Engineering Education in 2010.

Mark RanalliMark Ranalli, Executive Director and Associate Dean of Tufts Gordon Institute
Prior to Tufts, Mark Ranalli was Managing Director of RR Donnelly's Digital Solutions Group, where he was responsible for the company's digital business strategy. He is also the founder of several successful ventures. In 2006, he founded Helium, Inc., a media source that applies a crowdsourcing filtering system to community-generated content that was acquired by RR Donnelly in 2011. Soon after launching Helium, he co-founded and launched OurStage Inc., an independent music discovery platform, based on the same underlying crowdsourcing principals and relative ranking patents that are leveraged by Helium. He grew his first venture, an internet professional services agency called Basessix, Inc., from inception to three offices and more than 70 people with a client portfolio that included AT&T Broadband, Comcast, AOL, ESPN, Starz/Encore, HBO, and National Geographic. Ranalli previously held executive roles at UNIFI Communications, Inc. and Fax international, Inc. He also served for four years as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Tuck School at Dartmouth, where he taught classes on mergers and acquisitions and entrepreneurship.

Ranalli received an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BSEE from Stanford University.

Karen RichardsonKaren Richardson, Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management
Karen Richardson joined Tufts in 2008 from her position in Boston Public Schools as Deputy Superintendent for Family and Community Engagement. In her first position at Tufts as Director of Diversity Recruitment, Richardson was influential in developing and expanding the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experiences (Voices) recruitment program designed to expose high school seniors to the Tufts community. The steady increase in the number of applications from students of color and first-generation college students is a direct result of the Voices program. Richardson presented the successes of the Voices program, including a 50 percent increase in student participation, as part of a National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) conference panel on exemplary diversity recruitment programs, organized by the Center for Student Opportunity's "I'm First" initiative for first-generation college students.

After six years as Director of Diversity Recruitment for undergraduate admissions, Richardson was tapped to serve as founding Director of Graduate Admissions, where she had been since 2014. This represented the first time that the Office of Admissions at Bendetson Hall took a lead role in graduate admissions for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. Richardson expanded graduate student recruitment, including off-campus recruitment, increased efficiency in application processing and on-campus information sessions for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. She was named Tufts' Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management in July 2016.

Richardson has a bachelor's degree in politics from Princeton University — she is the first generation in her family to attend college — and a master's of education degree in risk and prevention from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

James Sarazen, Executive Associate Dean
As the Executive Associate Dean, Sarazen serves as chief financial officer and chief operating officer for Tufts Engineering as well as the school's lead administrative representative on all university-wide matters. Sarazen received an MBA, as well as a Bachelor of Science in economics, from Northeastern University. He is currently working towards a doctorate in education with a concentration in higher education management.

Sarazen came to Tufts from Northeastern University's College of Science, where he served as the Associate Dean for Administration and Finance from 2010 to 2016. In this role, he managed the financial and administrative affairs of more than 130 faculty, 70 staff, and a budget of approximately $120 million. In addition to designing and implementing cost control measures for the college, he played a leadership role in renovating over 25 research laboratories and was involved with the design of a new 220,000 square-foot interdisciplinary science and engineering complex. He was also instrumental in assisting in the creation of an academic spin-off company. He was previously Associate Dean for Administration and Finance for Northeastern University's College of Arts and Sciences, where he was involved in a number of initiatives of strategic importance to the university, including converting the university's accounting system to use new software and implementing a responsibility-centered financial management system.

Dr. Darryl Williams Darryl Williams, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

Darryl N. Williams joined Tufts in April 2013 as Associate Dean for Recruitment, Retention, and Community Engagement, and Director of the Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Diversity in the School of Engineering. In 2016, he was named Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. In this role, he is directly responsible for developing, implementing and assessing academic advising and the administration of the degrees awarded in 13 engineering disciplines. He serves as the School of Engineering's point person on educational policy.

Williams came to Tufts from his former position as a program director at the National Science Foundation, focusing on engineering education and overseeing the grants administration in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) for programs such as Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12), Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), National Robotics Initiative (NRI), and Advanced Technological Education (ATE). He is a chemical engineer by formal training, receiving his doctorate from University of Maryland College Park. He received a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. After the conclusion of his fellowship, Williams focused on creating opportunities in STEM for underrepresented communities in the Philadelphia area. He served as executive director of iPRAXIS, a nonprofit organization that seeks to support minority scientists to take ideas from bench to business.