Head of College Office

The Head of College (HoC) serves as the chief administrative officer and the presiding faculty presence in Benjamin Franklin College. He is responsible for the safety and well-being of students, and works to foster the social, cultural, and intellectual life of the college. “Head Jordan” helps to create a home for students, hosting College Teas and social events, promoting community, and building traditions. He is joined in Benjamin Franklin College by his wife, 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. Head Jordan joined Yale in 2005 with a vision to integrate the problem-solving aspects of environmental engineering with microbial genetics and public health. He studies microbes around us and within us, with focus on how they affect our health and our environment. His laboratory 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, and he was a member of the group of 36 international scientists who initially warned and later helped to convince the World Health Organization that SARS-CoV-2 could be transmitted by the airborne route.

In research, Professor Peccia wants to impact big problems facing the world, and he seeks to do the same in teaching andPhoto HOC Peccia and his family service. He has served as the faculty adviser for Yale’s Engineers Without Borders group for the last ten years, where teams comprised of Yale students and a professional mentor have designed and 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 also continues to participate as a seminar leader in the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, where he is working on building the next generation of environmental scientists by 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. Melissa met her husband in Boulder, Colorado, where they hiked the Rocky Mountains together and cooked over fires.

Head Jordan and Melissa’s 14-year-old son, Julian, is a high school freshman and loves anything related to flying. He is a hiker, 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, you’ll make a loyal friend if you take a few moments to say hello or play with him. 

Head of College Staff

Joelle M. Siracuse

Senior Administrative Assistant II, Benjamin Franklin College Head’s Office
Email: joelle.siracuse@yale.edu 

Senior Administrative Assistant II, Benjamin Franklin College Head’s Office

Joelle has been supporting Yale students and faculty since 1998 working for Professional Schools, Humanities, and the Residential Colleges at Silliman College.  She is thrilled to support the undergraduate community and is excited to be part of the ‘Franklinite Team’.

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.