Learning Outside The Classroom News - 2014

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  • MIT has been awarded two major grants from the Amgen Foundation. The first will provide hands-on laboratory experience to undergraduate students through the Amgen Scholars Program. This marks the ninth year that MIT will participate in the program, which aims to inspire the next generation of innovators by providing undergraduates with hands-on summer research opportunities at many of the world’s premier educational institutions. The second grant awarded to MIT will support the Amgen Scholars Global/U.S.

  • Through the Edgerton Center’s clubs and teams program, students apply themselves to challenging projects, for competition and for their own edification and satisfaction. This year there were 13 student-led teams, with over 200 MIT students participating. Over the summer, the N51 shop–adjacent to the MIT Museum–was a hub of activity with students fine-tuning their projects for upcoming challenges. Here are some of the highlights of this summer's projects:

    • In June, the MIT Robotics team placed second in NASA’s Robo-Ops Competition at the Rock Yard at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Teams in the event are challenged to build a planetary rover and demonstrate its capabilities to perform a series of tasks.Formula SAE team race car
    • The Formula SAE team (also known as MIT Motorsports) constructed their first electric car and placed seventh, in a field of 20, at the Society of Automotive Engineers Race in Lincoln, NE. The team is now building their second Formula-style electric car.
    • The Solar Electric Vehicle Team built their twelfth car, “Valkyrie,” and while they were not able to participate in the American Solar Challenge due to mechanical issues, they have set their sights on entering the 2015 World Solar Challenge with a new four-wheeled iteration of the solar car...
  • It was a busy summer for D-Lab students and community partners. Teams traveled to Columbia, Uganda, Haiti, and Ghana to work on a range of projects, from helping a school start a chicken coop business to setting up a computer lab with Raspberry Pi and used monitors. D-Lab Instructor Jessica Huang provides an update on the progress of each project.

    COLOMBIA

  • MIT Solar TeamMIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team will be headed to Austin, Texas, in mid-July for the American Solar Challenge with their latest incarnation, “Valkyrie.”

    “It’s a race car, so there is only enough room for one person to sit in it to drive,” says freshman Michelle Chao of Houston, Texas, who will be one of the drivers on the road trip from Austin to St. Paul, Minn.

    “There is a lead car that makes sure we are going the correct route and there is a chase car behind,” Chao says. “We also have a truck and trailer.” The rest of the team members are available for pit stops and maintenance.

    The solar team is supported by the Edgerton Center at MIT and this year the Materials Processing Center is contributing $3,000 to the effort. 

  • Early on Saturday mornings, before the rest of campus stirs awake, Jacqueline Sly ’14 grabs coffee and heads down Massachusetts Ave. to building N51. Winding through familiar walkways, past boxes of scrap metal and old pipes, she arrives at a large, airy room dominated by two nearly finished frames of certified Formula One cars. To Sly and the rest of the MIT Formula SAE team, this is home.

    Student Team at work in N51Seated unassumingly next to the MIT Museum, N51 houses multiple student teams working under the auspices of the Edgerton Center, including the Formula SAE team, the Marine Robotics Team, and the Solar Electric Vehicle Team.

    The students and alumni involved in these teams are intense, passionate, and motivated...