DUE News - 2015

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  • A team of 17 MIT students and alumni will travel 3,000 kilometers across the Australian Outback in a Solar Electric Vehicle for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2015 starting on October 18. A total of 47 teams from 25 countries—made up of mostly colleges and universities—will compete in the six-day competition that encourages research into sustainable transportation methods as well as solar technology.

  • Members of the Class of 2019 possess ample talent and determination.

    With the first few weeks of classes now under their belts, first-year students are settling into the busy, challenging, and often exciting new life of the MIT student.

    In these early days, MIT freshmen will no doubt be taking in new experiences at a breathless clip — an initiation that many at MIT equate with “drinking from the fire hose.”

    But for first-year students like Abishkar Chhetri, the flood of education may feel more like a welcome rain after a long drought. Chhetri — one of 1,109 members of the Class of 2019 — says his admittance to MIT had a “one in a million chance of happening.”

    MIT Class of 2019Chhetri was born in a refugee camp in eastern Nepal, where he lived for the first seven years of his life, with little opportunity for a quality education. As he wrote in his application to MIT, “I opened my eyes to a world that promised me no future.”

    The camp housed people in bamboo and straw huts, and Chhetri remembers attending the camp’s one school, where attendance was mandatory, although resources — both physical and mental — were meager.

    “There were no desks or chairs — you sat on the floor,” Chhetri remembers. “There weren’t a lot of rooms, and it was really crowded, so sometimes you felt very suffocated.”

    His parents, intent on giving Chhetri and his younger sister a better education, found jobs in Nepal’s capital, Katmandu, where they eventually moved the family when Chhetri was 7 years old. The improved schooling there, with more resources and qualified teachers, was “a new world for me — a place where I can be curious, and finally study without worrying about what I’m going to eat,” Chhetri says...

  • We hear this from students all the time: “I really want to take D-Lab!” — as if D-Lab was a single class. Quite to the contrary, D-Lab is a suite of MIT subjects with cross-listings in departments such as Mechanical Engineering, the Media Lab, the School of Architecture, and the Sloan School of Management. All in all, over the past 13 years, D-Lab has developed 21 MIT subjects, with a dozen or more hands-on, project-centered classes offered most academic years.

  • The First Generation Program (FGP) is a community of MIT students, faculty, alumni, and staff who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. To welcome some of the newly arrived first generation students, who make up approximately 17 percent of the Class of 2019, FGP hosted its annual Freshman Welcome Dinner during the first week of classes.

  • 2015 MIT Transfer Student OrientationMIT’s transfer students form a special and unique community on campus. This year’s cohort is comprised of 19 talented students ranging from local colleges and universities to others from across the world, including Bunker Hill Community College, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, University of Rochester, Cornell University and Peking University.

    Although the Institute initially classifies all transfers as sophomores who have declared a major, they now have the exciting opportunity to participate in all the activities and events offered to the freshmen class during Orientation. This is the third year that transfer students have been fully integrated into Orientation. Previously, they participated in a two-day program for transfer students only.

    Jordan MaloneEven though these students have already experienced freshman orientation at another university, MIT’s Orientation can feel like the first time. Transfer students have already reported benefiting from events like the Academic Expo, Activities Midway, and Core Blitz. They have enjoyed engaging with the MIT community at Residence Exploration Opportunities (REX) and social activities, such as exploring Boston and attending cookouts. Some have begun seeking a UROP and are engaging with faculty, staff, and other students.

    Among the transfer students this year is Jordan Malone, who became a two-time Olympic medalist in the sport of short track speed skating. He had engineering dreams before he had Olympic ones. Even as a 5-year-old, avid Lego-builder, Malone says he was “sold” on becoming an engineer and would eventually aspire to attend MIT...

  • Navigating MIT for the first time can feel like entering a new galaxy; you don’t know what challenges will present themselves. This year’s Freshman Orientation program used a “Guardians of the Galaxy” theme to welcome 1,107 first year students to MIT and show them that by working together as a team, they can truly succeed here.

    2015 Freshman OrientationLeading up to orientation, 585 eager first year students arrived early on campus to participate in one of the 26 Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs (FPOPS). Students were able to explore programs in 22 academic disciplines as well as leadership, the arts, service initiatives, and the outdoors. This year, three new programs were launched: Discover Chemistry, Discover Chemical Engineering, and Discover Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

    With 87 enthusiastic Orientation leaders guiding the way, the week started on Sunday, August 30, with some fun and games. Produced by Orientation Coordinator Jack Gordon ’18, the kickoff event featured video clips of MIT students facing and overcoming challenges in both this galaxy and the Marvel world, such as navigating a pset and defending against the evil villain. The event also brought together first-year students and Orientation leaders in a number of games on stage, including an epic final dance-off...

  • The following DUE employees received promotions between July 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015:

    Michael Ahern
    Tamara Bolk
    Jennifer Earls
    Margaret Eysenbach
    Nicole Fountain
    Kristine Guay
    Brenna Heintz
    Holland Hinman
    Nai Kalema
    Somiya Kalloo
    Melissa Mangino

  • Editor’s note: This summer, the Office of Minority Education’s Tutorial Services Room (TSR) received a new name: Talented Scholars Resource Room, or TSR^2. Located in 16-159, TSR^2 provides a host of academic resources, including one-on-one academic support, group study sessions, p-set nights, and a quiet study lounge. Although the program’s offerings and location haven’t changed, the new name helps reflect more accurately the breadth of offerings of this vital resource.

    It also helps dispel several myths, such as the perception that because OME runs TSR^2, it’s intended only for minority students. In fact, TSR^2 is open to all students. Last fall, 36% of students who used TSR^2 services were non-minorities.

    To help convey the many ways TSR^2 benefits students, we asked Alyssa Napier ‘16, a chemistry major and one of the TSR^2 teaching assistants, to describe her experience at the TSR^2.

    A cheer erupts from the table as two of my chemistry students celebrate their Eureka moment with fist bumping and high fives. After noticing the other users of the TSR^2 giggling at their computer screens or grinning over their notes, they blush and apologize. But none of the laughing is malicious. All of it says, “We, too, understand the euphoria of finally comprehending what seems like the magic of quantum mechanics.”

    Although the students I tutor are mostly freshmen taking GIRs or sophomores working on 5.12 or 5.13, the other users of the TSR^2 on any given homework night vary in class year and course. At times, students wander in because dorms are far away, and the mini-Athena cluster inside the TSR^2 provides a place to study that’s not usually as crowded as the libraries. Sometimes friends meet there independently of tutoring to study for a particularly difficult test.

    Talented Scholars Resource Room (TSR^2)During the day, the TSR^2 users are transient—it becomes a quiet napping place between classes, a lunch table, a place to brainstorm on the many white board spaces, and more. I have given spontaneous Orgo lectures at 11 a.m. because I happen to have caught the frantic, last-minute cramming of a group on my lunch break. I have been given spontaneous lectures when, frustrated by studying alone, I’ve walked into the TSR^2 and asked users if they understood what I had been struggling with for days. Even if no one understands right away, I can trust that someone will at least be there to struggle with me or next to me.

    The fact that so many people feel comfortable enough to use the TSR^2—regardless of whether they are being officially tutored or are officially tutoring—actually creates a better atmosphere for the tutoring itself...

  • 2015 MIT Admissions BloggersEvery summer, the admissions communications team posts the blogger application on the admissions website in a blog post. We are looking for students with good judgment who can write clearly and regularly, and convey what it’s like to be an MIT student.