Head of College & Associate Head of College

Interim Head of College, Arielle Baskin-Sommers

arielle.baskin-sommers@yale.edu / 203-432-0702

Arielle Baskin-Sommers is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Yale and is affiliated with The Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School and the Wu Tsai Institute. She received her Sc.B. from Brown University (2007), a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2013), and completed her pre-doctoral internship and fellowship in clinical psychology at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Baskin-Sommers focuses on identifying and specifying the cognitive, emotional, and environmental mechanisms that contribute to antisocial and risky behavior. Her research has powerful implications for legal system involved individuals as current assessments and interventions take a more or less one size fits all approach. Instead, Dr. Baskin-Sommers’ research shows the importance of distinguishing and targeting the underlying mechanisms that are associated with specific forms of antisocial behavior and psychopathology. To support her work, Dr. Baskin-Sommers has been awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Justice, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Dr. Baskin-Sommers is the author of over 105 peer reviewed publications.

Dr. Baskin-Sommers is most known for her work on psychopathy. She routinely is invited to give talks on the etiology and treatment of this misunderstood and misrepresented disorder. She spoke at the Royal Society-London, where members of Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice and Supreme Court of the United Kingdom attended as did other jurists, scholars, and politicians. She chatted with Bill Nye on his podcast, Science Rules!, and has been interviewed on NPR several times. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Atlantic, PBS, and Vice.

Dr. Baskin-Sommers is proud of her commitment to working towards more humane (and scientific) approaches to mental health and crime. In addition to her research, Dr. Baskin-Sommers created a specialized mental health clinic that serves the needs of individuals who were released from incarceration. She also is a subject matter expert in state supreme court cases involving life without parole for juveniles and serves on the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Task Force on Adolescent Death Penalty.

Dr. Baskin-Sommers teaches several popular classes, including The Criminal Mind and a seminar in Law and Psychology. She also is the Director of the Mechanisms of Disinhibition Lab in which undergraduate students serve as research assistants. In 2019, her contributions to interdisciplinary instruction were recognized by Yale through the Poorvu Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In recognition of her work, Dr. Baskin-Sommers has been the recipient of many other awards, including Early Career Awards from the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Society of Criminology, the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, and was selected as a 2020-2021 Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Researcher.

In her spare time, Dr. Baskin-Sommers watches lots of TV, especially the Real Housewives, snuggles with her Goldendoodle, Brooklyn, and rides her Peloton– #teamAlex.

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, Deanna Brunson


Deanna Brunson joined the Sillimander Team April 2022. When not in the office, she stays busy being the cheer mom to her daughter Taylor’s cheerleading team and loves talks with her son Sherman about graphic design and fashion. Deanna travels to Pittsburgh twice a year to watch the Steelers play with her husband Ben, they also enjoy walks with their two dogs, Zeus, and Thor.

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.