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Our Faculty

Our master classes are led by world-class experts and artists. Our faculty includes Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur geniuses, leading academics, scientists, artists, and university presidents. All of them are grateful to the teachers who helped them on their way and they are eager to give back.

Academy Faculty
Julia Álvarez

Award-winning author and poet. Alvarez’s awards include the Pura Belpré and Américas Awards for her books for young readers, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award. In 2013, she received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.

Yazmany Arboleda
Visual arts
Artist & architect

Colombian-American artist motivated by political, cultural, and social concerns. His practice often focuses on creating “Living Sculptures,” where co-creators come together to transform their experience of the world. An architect by training, he has created public art projects with communities in India, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, Afghanistan, Spain, Colombia, and the United States.

Billy Aronson

An accomplished playwright, Billy Aronson came up with the original concept for the musical , to which he also contributed lyrics. He has written for many popular children shows, including Postcards from Buster, Code Name: Kids Next Door, The Upside Down Show, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Beavis and Butthead.

Charles Bailyn
Yale University

Charles Bailyn is the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University and inaugural dean of faculty at Yale-NUS College. He earned a B.S. in astronomy and physics from Yale and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard. His Ph.D. thesis on X-ray emitting binary stars received the Robert J. Trumpler Award for best North American Ph.D. thesis in astronomy. Bailyn was awarded the 2009 Bruno Rossi Prize for his research on the masses of black holes.

Seth Barrish
Acting & storytelling
The Barrow Group

Professional acting coach and teacher for more than three decades, and award-winning actor, director, and artistic director, Barrish has spent years honing and sharing techniques to maximize spontaneity and bring performances to life. In 1986 he co-founded The Barrow Group, a company that has left an indelible mark on the New York theater scene, garnering accolades and praise for nurturing a high level of acting integrity. He has worked with, among others, Anne Hathaway, Mike Birbiglia, Tony Hale, and Michael Stahl David.

Robert Battle
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Dancer, choreographer, and the artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Battle graduated from Juilliard in 1994. After Juilliard, he danced with, and choreographed for, the Parsons Dance Company. In 2001, he formed his own Battleworks Dance Company. Prior to his appointment at Ailey, he choreographed work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Ailey School. In 2005, Mr. Battle was honored as one of the “Masters of African-American Choreography” by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Manjul Bhargava
Princeton University

R. Brandon Fradd Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. Bhargava was the 2014 recipient of the Fields Medal, sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics.” A renowned educator, he teaches a popular course at Princeton on “The Mathematics of Magic Tricks and Games” and was one of the authors of the new National Education Policy of India.

Mike Birbiglia
Comedian & storyteller

Comedian, storyteller, director, and actor who has performed in front of audiences worldwide. His shows My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and Thank God for Jokes were both filmed for Netflix. His most recent show, The New One, ran for ninety-nine performances on Broadway at the Cort Theatre. In 2017, Mike was honored with the Kurt Vonnegut Humor Award.

Rubén Blades
Afro-Cuban salsa & Latin jazz
Musician & activist

Born and raised in Panama, Blades graduated from Panama’s National University of Law and Political Science Faculty before becoming a full-time musician, songwriter, actor, and activist. He graduated from Harvard School of Law in 1985. Blades’ music is most often associated with Afro-Cuban salsa and Latin jazz and his lyrics with politically inspired Nuyorican salsa. He has composed dozens of musical hits, including “Pedro Navaja”, “El Cantante” and “Patria,” which many Panamanians consider their second national anthem. He is the winner of ten Grammy awards.

Casey Nelson Blake
US Culture
Columbia University

Casey Nelson Blake, professor of American Studies and History at Columbia University, specializes in modern U.S. intellectual and cultural history, with an emphasis on topics at the intersection of modernist art and politics in the twentieth century. He is the author of several works, including The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State and is co-editor of The Armory Show at 100: Modernism and Revolution. He was the Senior Historian for the New-York Historical Society exhibition.

Tanja Bosak
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor of geobiology in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences at MIT, and a Return Sample Science Participating Scientist on the Perseverance rover mission to Mars. Bosak’s work interprets the record of life on the early Earth by asking how microbes shape sedimentary rocks, leave biogeochemical patterns in sediments, and help fossilize microbes and organic matter.

Richard H. Brodhead
American literature & culture
Duke University

Richard H. Brodhead had a long career as a scholar and prize-winning teacher of American literature and culture at Yale, where he served as the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English and Dean of Yale College. During this time, he also spent eight summers teaching high school teachers at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English. In 2004 he left to become the president of Duke, a position he held for thirteen years.

Brenda Jo Brueggemann
University of Connecticut

Professor of English and Aetna Endowed Chair of Writing at the University of Connecticut, Brueggemann also teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College during the summer. She has been deaf (genetic) from birth. After college, she taught high school in her rural Kansas community for five years before going to graduate school. In the mid-1990s, bolstered by the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, she helped conceptualize the new field of Disability Studies. She is author and editor of many books and articles at the intersections of Deaf/Disability Studies and writing/art.

Rika Burnham
Art & museum education
The Frick Collection

Head of education at The Frick Collection, Burnham was recognized by the National Art Education Association for sustained achievement in teaching in 2001, appointed a Getty Museum Scholar in 2002, and received the James D. Burke Prize for achievement in the arts in 2003, the first museum educator to receive this award.

Michael Caplan
Yale University School of Medicine

C.N.H. Long Professor and Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Caplan has been recognized by numerous awards for his teaching, mentorship and research. His laboratory focuses on understanding the ways in which epithelial cells communicate with one another to generate and maintain their unique structures. His group also studies Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, a prevalent and serious genetic disorder that distorts the normal architecture of renal epithelial cells and that is a major cause of kidney failure.

Lawrence Carin
Duke University

Provost for Research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Carin researches machine learning, artificial intelligence, and applied statistics, and publishes widely, with over 450 peer-reviewed publications. He is a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers and co-founder of Signal Innovations Group and of Infinia ML.

Neal Carruth

Neal Carruth is NPR’s first-ever general manager of podcasts. He oversees the teams who work on many of NPR’s most popular podcasts. Carruth is a recipient of a Peabody Award and a Gerald Loeb Award.

Kartik Chandran
Earth & environmental engineering
Columbia University

Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University, and a MacAruther “genius.” Chandran's research examines the microbial nitrogen cycle, its links to the carbon, water, and energy cycles, and how these cycles can be engineered to provide sustainable wastewater management systems globally. His research and its practical applications continue to provide imaginative solutions for protecting public health, and mitigating harmful environmental impacts of wastewater.

Roz Chast
New Yorker

Chast’s cartoons regularly appear in the New Yorker and other magazines, including Scientific American, the Harvard Business Review, and Mother Jones. She is the author of several books, including the graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something more Pleasant? which was a National Book Award finalist and a #1 New York Times bestseller.

Susan Choi
Author / Yale University

The author of six novels, including Trust Exercise which won the 2019 National Book Award. Her honors include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and the PEN/W.G. Sebald award. She teaches in the English department at Yale.

Billy Collins

No poet since Robert Frost combines such high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal as Billy Collins. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States, his books break sales records, and his readings are often standing room only. His books include Questions about Angels; The Art of Drowning; Picnic, Lightning; Taking off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes, among many others.

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