Interphase: A Bridge from High School to College Life at MIT

Tammy Stevens, Associate Dean, and Deolinda Rodrigues, Program Coordinator, Office of Minority Education

Interphase 2011 T-shirtIt is hard to believe that another year has passed so quickly, but as many of the MIT offices start to take summer vacations the Interphase staff hears footsteps…On Sunday, June 26, 2011 the sounds go from a whisper to a roar with the arrival of the latest Interphase cohort. Seventy members of the incoming Class of 2015 have decided to pass up “their last summer” by spending their time learning more about the unique MIT culture. The members of this Interphase cohort represent nineteen mainland states and Puerto Rico. Their majors and career interests are as diverse as the communities they have left behind.

Participating students in Interphase live on MIT's campus and attend classes five days/week, to enhance their analytical-thinking and communication skills. They are taught by current MIT faculty, professors, alumni, and graduate students. As participants are introduced to the MIT culture, they begin to make connections with upperclassmen and recent graduates who facilitate recitation and discussion groups. They serve as role models, mentors and leaders to the incoming class.

Interphase 2011 Students

Illustration: Life of an Interphaser

Week 1:

Day 1: Arrive, check-in, overview of expectations, eat dinner, make bed, go to sleep

Day 2: Welcome to Interphase (Admissions, Dining Services, Residential Life, Physical Education, Campus Safety), Athena orientation, lunch, Assessment 1, unpack, dinner, go to sleep

Day 3: Assessment 2, lunch, Assessment 3, pick up textbooks, check email, first p-set assigned, dinner, work on p-set, less sleep

Day 4: First day of lectures, turn in p-set, attend workshop on networking, practice networking with the IACME partners, dinner

Day 5: Swim test.

Week 2: 4th of July BBQ Celebration, more p-sets, take first physics quiz, Boston exploration (mandatory fun!)

Week 3: 1st Exam (Chemistry), p-sets and paper due, dinner & movie, Interphase/MITES Social (mandatory fun!),

Week 4: 2nd Exam (Calculus), 3rd Exam (Physics), Faculty/Staff Luncheon (free food and networking!), p-sets, Interphase/MITES Challenge (mandatory fun!), complete mid program assessment

Week 5: Catch-up on work, study, 2nd Chemistry exam, sleep (maybe)

Week 6: Faculty/Staff Luncheon (Free Food!), catch-up, find out fall housing assignment

Week 7: Study! Study! Study! Take final exams in Walker gym on a Saturday and move into fall dorm assignment

Week 8: Lab Tours, Six Flags (mandatory fun!), advising sessions, textbook return

On August 18, 2011 – They rested.

Interphase 2011 Networking Reception

4th of July at Baker House Pits

As you can see from the above illustration Interphase is a rigorous seven-week summer residential, academic- and community-building program for admitted MIT freshmen. In addition, Interphase also encourages physical education and social networking. The program is a bridge for incoming MIT first-years who benefit greatly from this early transition from high school to college life.

As a whole, Interphase supports MIT's mission of providing intellectual stimulation within a diverse campus-community by promoting success among underrepresented and underserved students pursuing science and engineering careers in an increasingly diverse nation. Students arrive at MIT excited about the personal and intellectual challenges that lie ahead of them and then depart having deepened their level of academic ability, earned credits toward their academic requirements, and fostered long-lasting connections with their MIT faculty and peers.

To learn more about the Interphase program checkout the Interphase  website at  or call the Office of Minority Education at (617) 253-5010.