ESP Biography



MICHELLE BENTIVEGNA, ESP Teacher




Major: Course 1

College/Employer: athenahealth

Year of Graduation: 2011

Picture of Michelle Bentivegna

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Michelle Bentivegna is senior at MIT, majoring in Civil Engineering. She is fond of peppermint ice cream and penguins, and likes to teach about European History. She **really** likes when people to tell their friends to come to ESP programs.

She is also involved in ESP administration. She spends too much time in the ESP office, and directed Summer HSSP 2008. If you have any questions about ESP, you should ask her, or one of the other ESP admins.

Past Classes Have Included:
-Intro to Engineering (Summer HSSP 2009)
-The Black Plague (Splash 2007, 2008)
-The French Revolution (Splash 2007)
-Modern European History (Spark/ Spring HSSP 2008)
-Europe in Crisis: The World Wars in Europe (Summer HSSP 2008)
-Geoengineering (Splash, 2008, 2009)
-The Future of ESP (Splash, 2008)



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Epidemic - How have epidemics shaped human history, and how do they affect our world today? in Splash! 2013 (Nov. 23 - 24, 2013)
You've probably learned about a few famous epidemics in school:The Bubonic Plague and maybe the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. However, there have been many other epidemics that have impacted human history, such as the Plague of Justinian and the New World epidemics after Europeans first landed in the Americas. This is primarily a history course, not a science course. We will study primary source documents about these events to learn about how these epidemics affected the people who lived through them, and how an epidemic might affect our society today.


Predator Prey Game in Splash! 2010 (Nov. 20 - 21, 2010)
In this class, we will play a giant game of tag called "Predator - Prey." Some students will be predators like eagles, some will be prey, like rabbits. All students will try to find enough food and water, avoid disease and pollution, find a mate. Some students will hunt. Others will be hunted. This game will help you learn about food webs, and give you a chance to run around during Splash! We will play outside, so make sure you wear warm clothes!


Intro to Engineering in HSSP Summer 2010 (Jul. 11, 2010 - Jul. 11, 2011)
Do you think you might want to be an engineer, but don’t know much about what an engineer does? In this class, you will learn how to build a bridge, set off a rocket, among other things. The class will offer a mixture of lecture-based and activity-based classes. The following engineering disciplines will be offered (subject to change). Mechanical Engineering Civil Engineering Aero/Astro Electrical Engineering This class is designed to be an introductory course. Math will be kept at a basic level, and older students might be bored. Each class will be taught by a different teacher, so it will be more like a series of seminars on engineering than an actual class.


ESPrinkler in HSSP Summer 2010 (Jul. 11, 2010 - Jul. 11, 2011)
During the third block, middle school students are given the opportunity to participate in ESPrinkler, a mini-program that consists of several one-shot (Splash-style) classes each week, including: <ul> <li>Genetics Lecture</li> <li>Improv Acting Activity</li> <li>Engineering Design Activity</li> <li>Capture the Flag!</li> </ul> There is no need to register in advance for ESPrinkler classes -- just show up to classes that interest you each week!


A Bit Of Everything! in Spark! 2010 (Mar. 13, 2010)
Choose up to four whirlwind discussions and question-and-answer sessions about: Facts and myths about our universe: A chat about modern physics, what we know and what we don't know. We'll answer questions about stories you've heard regarding curved space, quantum teleportation, dark energy, strings, and whatever else you want to know. International Development: 1 billion people in the world do not have access to water, 29,000 children under the age of 5 die every day, and half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day. How do we even start to solve these problems? Protein cascades: how hormones and other external signaling factors can cause drastic changes in a cell's behavior through a series of astonishingly specific protein-protein interactions. Paradoxes: The next sentence is false. The previous sentence is true. This topic will amuse only those students who are not amused by it. Geoengineering: Geoengineering is what it sounds like - world engineering. Some scientists are proposing massive changes to our planet to combat global warming, like putting giant mirrors in space to reflect sunlight, or building giant, carbon filtering trees. Group Theory: What if you could "add" things that weren't numbers? We'll explore the theory of mathematical objects that allow for combining two elements with rules that mimic addition, and explore what kinds of objects we can get. Telescopes: From Galileo to the summit of Mauna Kea, learn how these pieces of glass have let us glimpse into the heavens; how astronomy, the oldest science, is born anew.


When Buildings Collapse: Structural Engineering and 9/11 in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
We've all learned about the geopolitical effects behind the fall of the World Trade Center - but what about the mechanics? Take this class to learn why the Twin Towers collapsed, why it took longer for the North Tower to fall, and why all the 9/11 conspiracy theories you've ever heard are bogus.


The French Revolution in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
In 1789, the French people rose up against the monarchy. What happened in 1789 that made them want to rise up? What kind of government did they want to create? Did they even know? And why did they have to chop off so many heads? Take this class to find out!


Why the World is the Way It Is: Recent World History in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Do you remember the Berlin Wall? 16-bit video game consoles? The Challenger disaster? Madeleine Albright? The Iran-contra scandal? In this class we’ll explore how the short-term effects of events after 1960 have shaped the current state of the world. This will be a discussion-based class. Bring questions that you might have about recent history, and we'll do our best to answer them!


Geoengineering: Weird Solutions to Global Warming in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
Climate change has become a huge issue in recent years. Most scientists advocate alternative energy sources and conservation as a solution. A few scientists, though, propose large-scale projects to fix the planet - like growing giant trees to scrub carbon out the the air, or spewing sulfur aerosols into the air to cool the planet.


Educational Policy: How Should We Fix America's Schools? in Splash! 2009 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2009)
American education receives consistently low ratings in international comparisons. Why is this? What should we do to fix this? This class will be discussion-based - I want you to come and share your ideas with other students.


Intro to Engineering in HSSP Summer 2009 (Jul. 12, 2009)
Do you think you might want to be an engineer, but don't know much about what an engineer does? In this class, you will learn how to design your own Photoshop software, build a bridge and decontaminate a river. The class will offer a mixture of lecture-based and activity-based classes. The following engineering disciplines will be offered (subject to change). Mechanical Engineering Civil Engineering Environmental Engineering Computer Science Aero/Astro Chemical Engineering Electrical Engineering Biological Engineering While this class will be open to HSSP students of all ages, it is designed to be an introductory course. Math will be kept at a basic level, and older students might be bored. Each class will be taught by a different teacher, so it will be more like a series of seminars on engineering than an actual class.


What's In a Name? The Sociology Behind First Names in Spark! Spring 2009 (Mar. 07, 2009)
In the first part of the century, Mary and John were the most popular first names in the United States. Now, they've been relegated to 93rd and 17th. What happened? Why was Madison the 598th most popular girl's name in the 1980s, but the 29th most popular name in the 1990s? Take this class to find out the answer to these questions, and learn some of the basics about naming.


The Black Plague in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
The Black Death was one of the deadliest plagues in human history. It swept through Europe sporadically throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It's estimated Europe lost about one third of its population to this disease. What caused such a deadly disease? How did Europeans react, and how did the Black Plague change the course of history? In this class, we will study both the biology of the plague (which is still poorly understood) and how it affected the course of European History.


Geoengineering - Weird Solutions to Global Warming in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
The Earth is heating up, but humanity hasn't been able to significantly reduce carbon emissions. This has lead some scientists to try and develop crazy plans to combat global warming - like putting giant mirrors in space, or growing supertrees to take up carbon. We'll look at some of these strange solutions, and why people think they might work.


Student Opinion Forum: The Future of ESP in Splash! 2008 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2008)
We'll have an informal discussion and feedback session about ESP in general. Here's a chance to tell us what you like and dislike about the way we do things and to toss around some ideas about the future of our programs. Bring breakfast and we'll make it a breakfast forum!


Europe in Crisis: The World Wars in Europe in HSSP Summer 2008 (Jun. 29, 2008)
World War I and World War II are often seen as one large war by historians. We will look at both wars from a political, military and social perspective. This class will focus on the effect that these wars had on Europe. We might discuss non-European aspects on the war, though in less depth. This class is designed for students who have not studied European History in depth before. Light homework (about 1hr/wk) will be assigned, consisting mostly of vocabulary and reading. Homework will not be required. Syllabus is subject to change, but our classes will probably look like this: 1. Pre-War Europe 2. Direct Causes of WWI and Opening Game 3. The Horror of War and the Russian Revolution 4. Endgame of WWI and the Treaty of Versailles 5. Interwar Period 6. Direct Causes of WWII and Beginning of War 7. Invasion of Russia, and the Nazi Regime in Europe 8. End of WWII, Post War Settlements and the Start of the Cold War


Modern European History in Spark! Spring 2008 (Mar. 08, 2008)
Love blood and gore? Gossip and scandal? Then this is the class for you! This class is designed to give students a basic understanding of European History. It also aims to familiarize them with people and concepts, like Otto von Bismark or the Reformation, which are referenced in newspapers and books every day. This class is for students who have not studied European History before. It is designed to be fast paced and educational, but still fun. Students will be asked to complete short homework assignments every week. We will not have time to study many topics in depth, but students will get a good overview of the rich history of Europe. The course syllabus per week (subject to change) will be as follows 1. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance 2. Reformation and the Wars of Religion 3. Absolutism and the Enlightenment 4. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. 5. Liberal vs. Conservative: Europe after the Napoleonic Wars 6. Industrialization, Unification and the Belle Epoch 7. The World Wars (Part I) 8. The World Wars (Part II) 9. Post-War Europe: The European Union and the Cold War 10. Round Table: Each student will represent a person from European History in a debate.


Modern European History in HSSP Spring 2008 (Mar. 15, 2008)
Love blood and gore? Gossip and scandal? Then this is the class for you! This class is designed to give students a basic understanding of European History. It also aims to familiarize them with people and concepts, like Otto von Bismark or the Reformation, which are referenced in newspapers and books every day. This class is for students who have not studied European History before. It is designed to be fast paced and educational, but still fun. Students will be asked to complete short homework assignments every week. We will not have time to study many topics in depth, but students will get a good overview of the rich history of Europe. The course syllabus per week (subject to change) will be as follows 1. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance (day of Spark) 2. Reformation and the Wars of Religion 3. Absolutism and the Enlightenment 4. The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. 5. Liberal vs. Conservative: Europe after the Napoleonic Wars 6. Industrialization, Unification and the Belle Epoch 7. The World Wars (Part I) 8. The World Wars (Part II) 9. Post-War Europe: The European Union and the Cold War 10. Round Table: Each student will represent a person from European History in a debate.


Europe in Crisis - World War II in JUNCTION (2009)
This four-part class will discuss World War II in Europe. 1. The end of WWI, and the underlying causes of ...


Oliver Cromwell in Ireland in JUNCTION (2009)
In this class, we will discuss Oliver Cromwell's invasion of Ireland. This pivotal event in Irish history led to centuries ...


The Healthcare Crisis - A Discussion About Possible Solutions in JUNCTION (2009)
American is facing a healthcare crisis. In this discussion-based class, we will talk about the many facets of this problem, ...


The Medieval Era and the Renaissance in SPLASHONWHEELS (2008)
This class designed to give people an introduction to a pivotal moment in European History: the transition from the Middle ...


Bring Out Your Dead! The Black Death and It's Affect on Europe in SPLASH (2007)
The Black Death was one of the deadliest plagues in human history. It swept through Europe sporadically throughout the Middle ...


From The Sound of Music to Sondheim in SPLASH (2007)
Do you ever find yourself Singin' in the Rain? Or Defying Gravity? In this class we'll discuss different themes and ...


Off With Her Head! The French Revolution and the Reign of Terror in SPLASH (2007)
Why did the French revolt against the king in 1789? How did they succeed? And why did they need to ...