Lorraine Wong Awarded 2017 MIT Collier Medal

Published in MIT News on March 21, 2017, by Rachel Traughber, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

MIT senior in brain and cognitive sciences and women's and gender studies honored for community work supporting mental health and women in STEM.

In 2014, MIT created the Collier Medal to honor Police Officer Sean Collier’s commitment to engaging with the community around him during his time at the Institute. The medal is a living memorial to Officer Collier, who gave his life in service to MIT on April 18, 2013.

“How do you pay homage to a person who made the ultimate sacrifice, and also remember the person that he was?” asks MIT Chief of Police John DiFava. “We’ve memorialized him in two ways. We’ve built this beautiful structure in front of Stata and the Koch Institute, and we created the [Collier] Medal, which keeps [Sean] alive, in terms of what he stood for, what he was, and what he represented on this campus.”

This year’s recipient, MIT senior Lorraine Wong, embodies the spirit of service the Collier Medal commemorates. Jared Berezin, a lecturer in the Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing, met Wong through the Increase Help Seeking working group on campus, part of MIT’s MindHandHeart Initiative. The group was created to develop ways to connect those who are struggling with mental health to resources, and to reduce the societal stigma seeking help can bring.

“As the student co-chair of the working group, Lorraine holds a leadership position, yet rather than take a commanding role over meetings, they often prefer to listen intently to the members of the group,” says Berezin. “Lorraine is typically the first to volunteer to do critical work on our group’s behalf — ranging from setting up our infrastructure needs to preparing key questions for the group to consider — yet they show little interest in receiving recognition. They want to learn as much as they can, and do as much as possible to bring about meaningful, potentially life-saving changes on campus..."

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