Head of College Office

The Head of College (HoC) serves as the chief administrative officer and is a tenured professor at the University. The HoC office is responsible for the well-being of students and the college infrastructure, and works to foster the social, cultural, and intellectual life at

Benjamin Franklin. “Head Jordan” helps to create a home for students, hosting college teas, concerts and social events, promoting community, curating college art, and building traditions. He is joined in Benjamin Franklin College by his spouse, Associate Head of College Melissa Castleman, their son Julian, and dog Dash.

Photo of HOC PecciaHead of College Jordan Peccia is the Thomas E. Golden Professor of Environmental Engineering and Chair of Yale’s Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department. Profesor Peccia joined Yale in 2005 and leads a research laboratory that integrates the problem-solving aspects of environmental engineering with microbial genetics and public health. His lab has patented genetic-based tests to determine if buildings have hidden mold problems, developed and tested new technologies for inactivating airborne pathogens, and studies how microbes in forests can contribute to the emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Peccia’s lab pioneered the use of wastewater surveillance to track infectious disease in a community.

Photo HOC Peccia and his family

In research, Professor Peccia wants to impact big problems facing the world, and he seeks to do the same in teaching and service. He served as the faculty adviser for Yale’s Engineers Without Borders group from 2013 to 2023, where teams composed of Yale students and a professional mentor built water infrastructure for villages in Cameroon and Tanzania. As an outgrowth of his research, his lab continues to provide up-to-date infectious disease surveillance information for southern Connecticut. He is a member of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, leading seminars on climate change and environmental justice for junior high and high school teachers who teach in underserved schools.

Professor Peccia grew up in Cut Bank, Montana, a small town whose unofficial motto is “the coldest spot in the nation.”

Associate Head of College Melissa Castleman is a writer. She recently finished a novel about two sister surgeons living in a climate-changed future. Before focusing on fiction, she was a food and travel writer for national magazines. She received a BA in English from Harvard University and an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. 

Head Jordan and Melissa’s 15-year-old son, Julian, is a high school freshman and loves anything related to flying. He is a runner, golfer, skier, painter, and an avid baker. A maker of drone films, Julian likes to explore rivers, oceans, and forests for new footage.

Dash, a black Lab, is thrilled to be at Yale and to have skipped middle school and high school to get there. When you see him in the courtyard or the Head of College’s house, you’ll make a loyal friend if you take a few moments to say hello or play with him.

Head of College Staff

Maria Bouffard

The Assistant Director of Operations is responsible for managing the financial and administrative operations of the college. This includes overseeing the colleges’ finances, events, and facilities.

Email: maria.bouffard@yale.edu 


 Maria rejoined Yale in March of 2022 as the Assistant Director of Operations at Benjamin Franklin College. Maria transitioned to Operations after enjoying a 25-year career in Emergency Management and disaster relief including, 10 years as the Emergency Manager at Yale and 15 at the American Red Cross. Maria is thrilled to be a part of the Franklin Team. Maria and her husband Luc live on a small farm in Chester, CT with their dogs, Honeybee, Cha Cha and Lily. In her free time, she studies herbal medicine and tends to extensive gardens.

Lisa Kwesell

Residential College Service Assistant II, Benjamin Franklin College
Email: lisa.kwesell@yale.edu

Residential College Service Assistant II, Benjamin Franklin College

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Lisa joined the Benjamin Franklin College team in May of 2022. She has worked at Yale since 2005. She began her tenure working for the Davenport Head of College and 15 years at Johnathon Edwards College.

Lisa has many years of experience in catering and managing large events. We are thrilled to have her. She brings extraordinary energy, enthusiam and expertise to the team.

She is the happiest when she is fishing and crabbing in the marshes of the Connecticut shoreline.