Head of College & Associate Head of College

Head of College, Laurie Santos

laurie.santos@yale.edu / 203-432-0702

Laurie Santos, a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the interdisciplinary Cognitive Science Program, assumed responsibility as Head of College in July of 2016. Professor Santos is a cognitive psychologist who studies what makes the human mind unique by exploring how animals think about the world. She studies the origins of human cognition by focusing on two different groups of animals: non-human primates (our closest living evolutionary relatives) and the domesticated dog (the species that lives most closely with humans). She is director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory (“CapLab”) and the Canine Cognition Center at Yale. Professor Santos studies the evolutionary origins of both our smarter human capacities— such as our ability to think about what other people think and our capacity to learn from others’ teaching— and our not-so-smart capacities— such as our irrational economic biases and errors. Her “monkeynomics” studies on the later topic were featured in a 2010 TED talk which has been seen by over one million viewers.

Professor Santos received her A.B. in psychology and biology (1997) and Ph.D. in psychology (2003) from Harvard University. She joined Yale’s faculty in 2003 and was awarded tenure in 2010. Professor Santos has been recognized widely for her excellence in research and teaching. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The New Yorker. She is the recipient of the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research. She was recently voted as one of Popular Science Magazine’s “Brilliant 10” young minds, and was described in Time Magazine as a “Leading Campus Celebrity.” In 2012, she was awarded the The Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Excellence in the Social Sciences.

Associate Head of College, Mark Maxwell


Head of College Santos is joined by her husband, Mark Maxwell. Associate Head of College Maxwell is currently a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Yale. His work in metaphysics and philosophy of science draws on his background in physics (He received his B.S. in physics at MIT) to investigate how laws of nature help structure our understanding of the world. Before coming to Yale, Maxwell worked as a computer programmer and then as a professional poker player, both of which continue to influence his approach to philosophy.

Operations Manager, Sergio Gonzalez

sergio.gonzalez@yale.edu / 203-432-0708


Senior Administrative Assistant, Elaine Vivero 


Prior to becoming a Sillimander in November, 2015, Elaine has worked 6+ years at the Yale School of Management as the Program Coordinator for the Executive MBA program.  She also worked in a guidance office counseling high school seniors on the college application process and advising them of scholarship opportunities.   Elaine also has 13 years’ experience supporting IBM executives.  She is married and lives in Killingworth, Connecticut with her husband, Pat and their 2 large dogs, Morgan and Bella.  Her daughter is an elementary school teacher in Boston and her son is a general surgery resident at Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston.  She enjoys playing tennis, taking gym classes, singing in the church choir, and hiking with her dogs.   Her paradise is their lakeside cottage in New Hampshire.

Service Assistant, Cara Vo

Cara.Vo@yale.edu / 203-432-0181

Cara Vo joined the Sillimander Team February 2016. Coming to Silliman from Yale Catering (‘08-16), she was an Event Captain/Manager. Now she creates delicious treats & builds amazing memories for Silliman Students during their time at Yale. This ‘Jill-of-All-Trades” food professional extensively coordinated & executed great, beautiful events all over Yale for many departments including but not limited to: Yale President’s Home, SOM Executive Programs, Schools of Forestry, Medicine, Music, personal homes of Deans/Heads of Colleges. Honored, she has served Yale Guests such as: The Society of the Cincinnati, Ivo Josipović [President of Croatia ‘10-15], Former US General David Petraus, Glenn Close, Yo-Yo Ma, Nicolas Sarkozy [Former President of France ‘07-12), among many others. When not at work, you may find her enjoying the wooded seclusion of a CT State Park, supporting the local CT music scene, curled up with her cats or at her home away from home; a Renaissance Festival.