McCormick Hall Graduate Resident Tutors

Meet the RLAD in McCormick!

Topher Nelson
I’m Topher Nelson, the Area Director of McCormick Hall. I’m in my first year here and so far am having a great time. Feel free to stop by my office, which is in the East Tower right outside the Dance Studio. When I’m not at work I’m usually out for a run on the Charles River, exploring Boston or just relaxing with a book.

Meet the wonderful tutors in McCormick!

West Tower
Ashley Brown Raynal and Jean-Raymond (JR) Raynal
(2/3 West)
Ashley and JRHi! We’re Ashley and Jean-Raymond (JR) Raynal, the GRT’s on 2&3 West. Ashley hails from Pennsylvania, and came to MIT as an undergrad, while JR grew up on his father’s vineyard in southern France, and earned his master’s degree in Computer Science at a graduate school in Bordeaux. We met while we were both interning in South Africa, and now we’re happily married! Currently, Ashley is a graduate student in Course 2 working on building a miniature NMR spectrometer, and JR is using his superior French education to pursue a career in robotics.

We love board games, movies, DDR, hiking, and video games. Come visit us in 317 to meet us and our turtle, Tash!

 Jen Wilson 
(4/5 West)

Hello! I’m the GRT for 4/5 West, and I’m a PhD student in Course 20 (Biological Engineering). My research project focuses on developing algorithms for betting understanding gene-interference experiments in cancer. When I’m not doing research, you may see me riding a bike (I’m on the cycling team), or baking cookies for the floor :-) I’m a big fan of planning themed dinners in the dining hall – so far Harry Potter has been the most successful. If you’ve got ideas, feel free to let me know! (pictured on the right)

Brooke Tam and Hok Hei Tam (6/7 West) Brooke_Hok_picture
Hi! We are Brooke and Hok Hei, the GRTs on 6/7 West. We are both PhD students in Course 10 and we got married in 2013, right before Brooke moved to Cambridge and started at MIT. This is our first year in McCormick, and we are very excited to be a part of this awesome community!

Brooke: Originally from rural Michigan, moving to the city has been a big adjustment, but I’m learning to love the Boston area. As a ChemE grad student, I am working on developing protein-based assays for detecting DNA methylation, a modification related to cancer. When I have free time, I’m probably figure skating, running, playing ultimate Frisbee, or practicing the organ.

Hok Hei: I hail from Hong Kong by way of Toronto and Columbus, Ohio. I’m here to find new ways to improve vaccines and cure cancer (brain and prostate). In my free time I organize global health events around MIT and develop medical record systems for refugees. I enjoy traipsing around the world, learning new things, and building stuff.

We look forward to getting to know you all. Stop by 617 to say hi!

East Tower
Brittany Montgomery
(2/3 East)
Brittany Montgomery_McC GRT 2_3 EastHola/Oi/Hi! I’m Brittany Montgomery, the new GRT for 2/3 East. I’m working on a PhD in International Development in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning (Course 11). What that really means is that I’m fascinated by infrastructure in developing countries. After spending some time away from MIT (Course 1 Class of ’06 and a McCormick Hall resident) feeding my thirst for adventure in Latin America, China, and California, I’m excited to be back in Cambridge and ready to meet you all. I’m originally from a small town in East Texas but have more recently found myself in megacities. When I’m not tooling, you can find me in all sorts of fitness/dance classes, planning my next big trip, or exploring places in Boston. Whether you’re eager for a chance to speak Spanish or Portuguese (English works too ;), looking for some perspective on grad school outside of MIT (Go Bears!), interested in studying/working abroad, or ready to sample something delicious made in my mixer, Big Red, stop by Room 325 and say hi!
Shireen Warnock and Clark Davenport (4/5 East)

Hi! We are Shireen and Clark, the GRTs for 4th & 5th East. Feel free to stop by our apartment, 525, any time. We both love concerts, and are constantly going to shows in all genres so if you want any recommendations or want to geek out about music we’re always game! We also love to go outside and explore, both in and out of Boston, and try out new things– be it dogsledding, horseback riding, or getting lost in the woods (Shireen’s fault). Our door is always open and we’d love to learn more about you all when you come say hello. :) In case you’re curious about each of us, here’s a little more…

Shireen: I’m a third-year graduate student working on my PhD in electrical engineering, exploring devices made out of materials that might be alternatives to traditional silicon technology. I was at MIT for my undergrad as well, so it feels like I’ve been here forever! I’m originally from the suburbs of NYC and strangely enough, I love winter and this crazy Boston weather suits me just fine. In my free time I enjoy reading, and I learned recently that I absolutely love to cook. I also have a rather expansive collection of tea, and can probably offer up something you haven’t yet tried. So if you’re looking for a recipe, tea, or want to just stop by, say hi and try some new food, I always love to share!

Clark: I grew up in the valley of Central California until arriving at MIT for undergrad, where I was a 2-A with a concentration in robotics and controls. I just finished my Masters work here (also in Mechanical Engineering), where I researched the coordination of additional robotic limbs for assembly and manufacturing works. Basically, I love robotics. Which completely explains my choice to work at Kayak as a Data Analyst/backend developer. I will be working at their office at Concord for the foreseeable future. I am also a long-time musician, playing the drums in various bands of every genre since elementary school. Lastly, I picked up hockey during college and try to play a couple of times a week at various rinks in and around Boston. More than anything though, I enjoy spontaneity so always feel free to surprise with ideas, trips, or events.

and Andrea Opperman
(6/7 East)

Roedolph&AndreaOpperman - 6&7E GRTs

“Goeie dag!” (That is Afrikaans for good day). We are Roedolph and Andrea Opperman, the new GRTs on 6+7E, and we are very excited to get to know the residents at McCormick. We both hail from South Africa though, after several years in the U.S., our accents are practically nonexistent.

Roedolph received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and a dual master’s degree at MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16) and the Technology Policy Program (ESD-TPP). After a few years in industry, he returned to MIT and is now starting his 2nd year PhD studies in the Man-Vehicle Lab (still Course 16). His research focuses on sensor hardware development for astronaut exercise on the International Space Station as well as astronaut injury and countermeasures. Outside of the lab his interests include extreme sports such as sky-diving and bungee jumping, scuba diving, backpacking and camping, and a variety of sports such as rugby, snowboarding and hockey. He enjoys traveling the world and experiencing new cultures.

Andrea spent her early childhood in Johannesburg, South Africa before immigrating with her family to Doylestown, a quaint Philadelphian suburb. Last fall the two of them got married and Andrea moved to Cambridge. Her field is in Social Work and she works at a local woman’s shelter that endeavors to enhance and promote the well-being of individuals and families in the community. Her passion is helping people and her interests include the great outdoors, specifically hiking, camping, kayaking and waterskiing, knitting, traveling and gourmet cooking. (Roedolph: She makes the most delicious baked goods in town so there’s a treat in store for our floors!) :)

We look forward to getting to know all of you and to be a part of the great community that is McCormick Hall. Be sure to ask us about our experiences in Africa, including being bitten by a lion and attacked by monkeys! :)

The Annex
Sarah Ann Goodman


Sarah Ann GoodmanHi! I’m Sarah, the GRT in the annex. This is my second year as a PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3), and my research focuses on nanofabrication of plasmonic structures. Outside of research, I enjoy singing, jogging, and getting involved in science education outreach. I’m excited to be a part of the community here, and I can’t wait to get to know you all!