STEM Nexus: Connecting Massachusetts' STEM Community

Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council Members

Ex Officio Members


Joseph P. Kennedy III, Congressman, Honorary Chairman of the STEM Advisory Council (Biography)*
Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D, Chairman, President and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Biography)*
Karyn Polito, Lieutenant Governor (Biography)*

Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development
Mitchell Chester, Commissioner, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Carlos Santiago, Commissioner, Department of Higher Education
James Peyser, Secretary of Education
Ronald L. Walker, Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development
Thomas L. Weber, Commissioner, Department of Early Education and Care

Legislative Members

Sonia Chang-Diaz, State Senator, Chair of the Joint Committee on Education
Alice Peisch, State Representative, Chair of the Joint Committee on Education
Daniel Wolf, State Senator, Chair of the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development


Al Bunshaft, CEO, DS Government Solutions
Nadia Chamblin-Foster, Director, Steps to Success
J.D. Chesloff, Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Roundtable*
Jim Brosnan, Superintendent, Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District
Joseph Dorant, Chair, MA Organization of State Engineers & Scientists
Pamela Goldberg, CEO, MA Technology Collaborative
Sheila Harrity, Superintendent, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District*
John Hodgman, STEM Advocate
Monica Joslin, Dean of Academic Affairs, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA)
Joyce Kressler, Director, EcoTarium
Debbie Lacy, Parent Representative
Laurie Leshin, President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)*
Anne Marie Levins, Associate General Council, Microsoft*
Michael Looney, Curriculum Chair, Technology Department, Mashpee Public Schools
Travis McCready, President and CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
Marty Meehan, President, University of Massachusetts
Patricia Meservey, President, Salem State University
Reinier Moquete, CEO at Advoqt Technology Group and Co-Founder of Latino STEM Alliance
Timothy Murray, CEO, Worcester Chamber of Commerce
Stephen Pike, Interim CEO, MA Clean Energy Center
Joyce Plotkin, STEM Advocate
Marcy Reed, Senior Vice President, National Grid*
Ira Rubenzahl, President, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC)*
Kenneth Salim, Superintendent, Weymouth Public Schools
Douglas Scott, Science Teacher, Hopkinton High School
Ellen Spear, President & CEO, Heritage Museums & Gardens
Yvonne Spicer, Vice President, Advocacy and Educational Partnerships, Museum of Science
Michael Tamasi, President and CEO, AccuRounds*
Steve Vinter, Engineering and Site Director, Google Inc.*

* denotes membership on Council’s Executive Committee

Senior Advisor

David Cedrone, Associate Commissioner for Economic and Workforce Development and STEM at the Dept. of Higher Education

STEM Advisory Council Staff

Allison Scheff, Executive Director of STEM at the Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council
Keith Connors, Senior Program Manager of the STEM Pipeline Fund

The Office of Congressman Kennedy Staff

Emily Kaufman, Director of Communications
Nick Clemons, District Director
Eric Fins, Senior Legislative Assistant

Vertex Pharmaceutical Staff

Marnie Burke, Associate Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy

STEM Council Co-Chairs

Congressman Joe Kennedy

Congressman Kennedy

Sworn in as Honorary Co-Chair in May 2013, Congressman Kennedy serves the Fourth District of Massachusetts in Congress. Having dedicated his career to public service, Joe brings a firm commitment to social justice and economic opportunity to the U.S. House of Representatives. Elected in November of 2012, he represents a diverse district that spans from the suburbs of Boston to the more industrial towns of Massachusetts’ South Coast.

Prior to seeking office, Joe served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Assistant District Attorney in both the Middlesex County and Cape and Island’s District Attorneys’ Offices. A graduate of Harvard Law, he was an active member of the school’s Legal Aid Bureau – a pro-bono law firm that provided legal services to low-income families around Boston. During that time he also co-founded an afterschool program for at-risk youth in the Boston area with his wife, Lauren.

Earlier in his career Joe served as a member of the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic where he designed and implemented an economic development project that helped create jobs and increase the standard of living in an isolated community near Puerto Plata. Joe has also worked as an international development analyst for the United Nations’ Millennium Project and as an anti-poverty consultant abroad. He is fluent in Spanish and currently sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the House Committee on Science and Technology.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Joe holds a bachelors degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. (source)

Jeffrey Leiden, M.D., Ph.D

Jeffrey Leiden

Dr. Leiden is the Chairman, President and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He has served as a member of Vertex's board of directors since 2009. Dr. Leiden has more than 20 years of scientific, commercial and financial experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries as well as clinical and scientific experience in academia as a practicing cardiologist and molecular biologist.

Prior to joining Vertex, Dr. Leiden was a Managing Director for Clarus Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm he joined in 2006. From 2000 to 2006, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Scientific Officer, at Abbott Laboratories where he had responsibility for running Abbott’s global pharmaceuticals business. While at Abbott, Dr. Leiden helped launch multiple breakthrough medicines, including Humira for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases and Kaletra for HIV infection, among others. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Abbott Laboratories and TAP from 2001 to 2006.

Dr. Leiden began his career in academia as a practicing cardiologist and molecular biologist. From 1987 to 2000, Dr. Leiden held several academic and hospital appointments, including roles as Chief of Cardiology at the University of Chicago, the Elkan R. Blout Professor of Biological Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. During his academic career, Dr. Leiden was also involved in starting several biotechnology companies including Vical and Cardiogene.

Dr. Leiden held a number of board positions in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including non-executive Vice Chairman for Shire Pharmaceuticals plc and Director of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He is currently a trustee of the Brigham and Women’s hospital and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Leiden also serves on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) and the Boston Private Industry Council. Dr. Leiden received his B.A., M.D., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito

Congressman Kennedy

Karyn Polito was inaugurated on January 8th, 2015 as the 72nd Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Elected alongside Governor Charlie Baker in November of 2014 on a platform of making Massachusetts great for everyone, Lieutenant Governor Polito continues her career in public service in the new administration.

Lieutenant Governor Polito began her public service in local government, serving as a member of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen. She then expanded her work to the state level, serving as a member of the State Lottery Commission. Then, in 2001, Polito ran for State Representative and won, proudly representing the residents of the 11th Worcester District (Shrewsbury and Westborough) for five terms.

In her time on Beacon Hill, Polito was a leading advocate for the passage of "Jessica's Law," a bill which would establish tough mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders. Her advocacy paid off in 2008, when she worked with her Democratic colleagues to pass tougher sentencing legislation and require District Attorneys to file more comprehensive reports about child sex offenses in Massachusetts.

Lieutenant Governor Polito understands the strain on local budgets, and worked relentlessly to secure increases in local aid, Chapter 70 school aid, Special Education aid, and Special Education transportation aid, as well as for local grant funding. Throughout her term in office, Polito advocated for a safer Commonwealth by filing legislation in a number of key areas: cracking down on drunk drivers, requiring defibrillators in public schools, and strengthening the experience requirements for young drivers.

Polito has also worked hard to promote jobs and economic development, especially encouraging young people to explore careers in science and technology. She served on the Robert H. Goddard Council on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, and she hosted the annual “Women in Science” conference in Worcester. She is a board member of the Worcester Area Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lieutenant Governor Polito also believes strongly in giving back to the community. Her first major legislative initiative in 2003 was to file legislation allowing for the issuance of special license plates with the Red Sox and Jimmy Fund insignias. Since that bill was passed, the Red Sox special-issued license plates have raised more than $7,000,000 to date for the Jimmy Fund of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Red Sox Foundation.

Lieutenant Governor Polito is a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, where she owns and operates a commercial real estate development firm and lives with her husband and two young children.

This website is supported by the STEM Pipeline Fund, a state trust account administered by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to support STEM initiatives.