Anne McCants, Director
Anne McCants is the Ann F. Friedlaender Professor of History. She studied economics, German, and history at Mount Holyoke College, and completed her Masters degree in economics and Ph.D. in history at UCLA and UC Berkeley, respectively. She came to MIT in 1991 where she has served as Head of History, and as a Head of House in both graduate and undergraduate dorms. Her teaching is focused in the areas of European economic and social history and social science research methods. She is the author of Civic Charity in a Golden Age: Orphan Care in Early Modern Amsterdam (1997), and numerous articles and edited volumes on historical demography, material culture, technology in social context, and the standard of living in the Dutch Republic. She is currently engaged in several major projects: one examining the long-term roots of economic development with a particular focus on the role played by institutions of the family and gender equity, and developing new measures for the study of wellbeing; another on the economic and social history of the Dutch Cape Colony in southern Africa; and a study of the economic impacts of the ‘Little Ice Age’ on urban Paris during the 16th – 18th centuries. She serves as President of the International Economic History Association and Editor of the Journal of Interdisciplinary History. Her favorite ways to unwind are walking her dog Katie, cooking/baking, working with fibers and textiles, and digging in the garden.
Jennifer French Kamrin
Jennifer French Kamrin is excited to be teaching mathematics with the Concourse team. She completed her study of mathematics with a physics minor at the University of Washington in 2005, where she belonged to a small cohort of students who took history, literature, and comparative literature courses together throughout their first two years. She completed her PhD in mathematics, working in Algebraic Topology, at MIT in 2010. She was a Postdoctoral Associate with the MIT Teaching and Learning Lab, where she developed a curriculum map tying foundational concepts in math, physics, and chemistry to upper level skills in engineering and participated in the development of 50 videos tying these foundational themes to concepts taught in the first two years of an undergraduate curriculum.
Prior to joining Concourse, she taught Probability and Statistics in the MIT Department of Mathematics for two years, and taught tens of thousands of students Calculus and Differential Equations online through the nine Massively Open Online Courses she authored with faculty in the Math Department for the last ten years as a Digital Learning Scientist and Digital Learning Lecturer. She loves creating interactive learning experiences that harness the power of automatic feedback, involve interactive visualization of abstract concepts, and use videos to connect mathematical models with real world examples. She believes that we learn by doing, and enjoys creating opportunities for mathematical learning to happen.
Ryan Lang was an undergraduate and graduate student at MIT, earning an S.B. in electrical engineering (2002) and physics (2003), an M.Eng. in electrical engineering and computer science (2003), and a Ph.D. in physics (2009). He returned to MIT in 2019 to teach physics in the Concourse program. His research interests are in the areas of astrophysics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Since 2015, he has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, an international team of researchers who search for gravitational-wave signals generated by extreme objects like neutron stars and black holes. Every January, he participates in the MIT Mystery Hunt, a weekend-long puzzle competition held on the MIT campus. During the rest of the year, he relaxes by spending time with family and friends, playing board games, following the Red Sox, and keeping up with his DVR.
Linda Rabieh, a Senior Lecturer in Concourse, received her Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Toronto. Having previously taught at Colorado College and Tufts University, she joined the Concourse faculty in 2010. She is the author of Plato and the Virtue of Courage (2006), which won the Delba Winthrop Mansfield prize for excellence in political science, and of numerous articles that explore the political thought of ancient and medieval thinkers, including Thucydides, Plato, Maimonides, and Averroes. She has also been the recipient of an National Endowment of Humanities Independent Scholar Fellowship. For the past six years, Linda has been a co-director of the joint History/Concourse IAP in Ancient Greece and IAP in Ancient and Medieval Italy trips. Her research and teaching interests involve ancient and medieval treatments of ethics in war, the role of women in ancient thought, and the ancient Greek inquiry into the extent and limits of knowledge. She loves to discuss movies, books, politics—really pretty much anything, and she will almost never say no to coffee, olives, or dancing. She is an adopted and devoted Cantabrigian, where she lives with her husband and their two kids.
Sasha Rickard, Assistant Director
Sasha Rickard is currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science from Boston College and writing a dissertation on Plato and the politics of hedonism. Her scholarly interests include Plato, Shakespeare, early modern political thought, and American political thought. While at Boston College she has taught and TA-ed courses on the history of political thought, modern political thought, Shakespeare’s politics, and comparative politics of development.
In 2019, she graduated from MIT with a degree in Computer Science and Ancient and Medieval Studies. While at MIT, she was an active member of the Concourse community.
In her spare time, she is an avid hiker, swimmer, and runner, and enjoys finding fruit trees around Boston to harvest for pies. She is looking forward to working with the Concourse students to make Concourse an engaging and warm community in which to pursue a humanistic education at MIT.
Beth Vogel Taylor
Beth Vogel Taylor, a Senior Lecturer in Concourse, joined the Concourse Program in 2014 to teach general and organic chemistry. In addition to teaching in Concourse, Beth has taught in the Chemistry Department (5.111, 5.36, and 5.12) and is a facilitator in the Teaching Certificate Program for graduate students and postdocs through the MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory. Beth completed her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in the Imperiali laboratory at MIT after graduating from Hamilton College with a major in Chemistry and a minor in English. Prior to joining Concourse, Beth was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Instructor and Associate Director of the Drennan Education Lab. Beth’s research and teaching interests focus on creating and assessing resources to bring the excitement of research into the classroom and to increase the exposure of undergraduates to the research of women and people of color. Beth is also involved in teaching assistant training for the Chemistry Department and is a member of the MIT-Haiti Initiative. Beth lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children, where she enjoys running, biking, and playing kickball.
Mary Erica Zimmer
Mary Erica Zimmer studied Literature and Classical Studies through the University Professors Program at Boston University, with graduate work in English Education, Mediaeval English, and Humanities at BU, the University of St. Andrews, and the University of Chicago, respectively, before her Ph.D. in Editorial Studies from The Editorial Institute at Boston University. She came to MIT in 2017 after teaching at both BU and Louisiana State University (whose secondary English Education program she helped redesign); she has also worked in conjunction with MIT’s Mellon-funded Programs in Digital Humanities. Her research interests are literary, historical, and editorial, with emphases in poetics, material culture, and varied forms of adaptation. To this end, she is pleased to have been part of the team responsible for MIT’s Global Shakespeares: The Merchant Module, which is accessible through the global edX platform. Her current projects include a digitized model of the bookshops and stalls surrounding London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral before the 1666 Great Fire (for which she has recently been awarded a Summer Residency in Manuscript and Print Studies at the Institute of English Studies, University of London) and—with her Concourse students—a digital edition of Isaac Newton’s 1690s translation of The Book of Nicholas Flamel, which is held by MIT’s Distinctive Collections. She is happiest finding analogies, amassing pictures of things she loves best, and exploring new possibilities for programming in the humanities.
Photo Credit: Emily Hiestand, MIT SHASS
Diana Henderson majored in English and Philosophy while spending most of her outside time doing theater, dance, and music at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She received her doctorate in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and taught at Middlebury College before joining MIT’s Literature faculty in 1995. She is a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. Her teaching interests include early modern poetry and culture, gender studies, world drama, and Shakespeare; she received the 2005 Baker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Diana is the author of Collaborations with the Past: Reshaping Shakespeare Across Time and Media (2006; paperback 2012) and Passion Made Public: Elizabethan Lyric, Gender and Performance (1995), and the editor of Alternative Shakespeares 3 (2008) and A Concise Companion to Shakespeare on Screen (2006), as well as many articles on topics ranging from female sonneteers to James Joyce to the Hindi film Omkara. She is Associate Editor of the journal Shakespeare Studies and was the 2013-14 President of the Shakespeare Association of America. She has been a dramaturg, collaborated with the Royal Shakespeare Company and other professional theater troupes, and unwinds at the piano.