The Inside Scoop on DUE (June 2015)
As the academic year comes to a close, I want to thank you for a productive and rewarding year. It certainly has been an unusual one. On top of the garden-variety challenges that we all face in our workloads, we had to endure record snowfalls and cope with the tragic loss of students and faculty. DUE staff handled these challenges with care and compassion. I appreciate the very good work being performed by every member of the staff, each day, across DUE.
I am proud to lead an organization of people who care so much about the well-being and academic success of our students. You consistently demonstrate to me and the MIT community a high level of professionalism, sensitivity, creativity, and innovation. I feel very privileged to work with such a dedicated staff!
At Commencement, President Reif spoke about the “great invisible network of kindness and understanding that supports us all.” I believe you are an integral element of this network, showing kindness and understanding in all your interactions with students, faculty, and staff.
Thank you for your service to DUE, and have a wonderful summer.
On June 8, the DUE community came together to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions of DUE staff members. Each year, staff within DUE nominate their peers for their contributions in Communication and Collaboration, Community, Customer Service, Diversity and Inclusion, Innovation and Creativity, and Leadership. Congratulations to all the 2015 DUE Infinite Mile Award recipients!
2015 Infinite Mile Award Recipients
Paula Cogliano, Concourse
Communication and Collaboration
OFS Move Squad: Deborah Boldin, Eileen Milligan, and Brian Nelson, Office of Faculty Support
Saida Benhayoune, D-Lab
Innovation and Creativity
Spring Career Fair Organizers: Christina Henry, Alessandra Rober Christensen, GECD
Alpha Sanneh, Registrar’s Office
Communication and Collaboration
Marilyn Wilson, GECD
Innovation and Creativity
Tamara Bolk, GECD
The Registrar’s Office—including the Academic Records and Schedules Office suites in 5-119 and 5-111—has temporarily relocated to E34-400 as of June 11. The move will accommodate a renovation project that will modernize the office space with new entryways, comfortable waiting areas, streamlined work spaces, fresh carpeting, and contemporary furniture. Registrar’s Office staff anticipate returning to the renovated office space in Building 5 sometime in October 2015. The office will maintain normal business hours in E34-400 (Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm).
Each year, UAAP recognizes two outstanding associate advisors. The nominations reached an all-time high for the second consecutive year, affirming that students value freshman advising and are committed to mentoring freshmen and supporting their advisors.
Nancy Lu, Junior in Course 10
Associate Advisor for Professor Preetinder Virk
Lu’s freshman advisor said that “she has a winning personality, composed, friendly, and alert, with an understated manner. She listens with care and can express her views persuasively. She evinces a humanistic warmth that encourages others to share their concerns and look for solutions.” Virk added, “Having advised freshmen here at MIT since 1992, with assistance from perhaps 20 dedicated and caring associate advisors over the years, I can say that Nancy has been among the very best.”
Tara Lee (RBA), Sophomore in Course 20
Associate Advisor for Dean Stuart Schmill
Lee’s advisor wrote that "she has been really terrific! Tara has been super proactive in contacting me to make sure our advising meetings went well and organized all our social events.” Schmill also noted that “Lee was very supportive during the difficult time on campus with the suicides, particularly the one that affected the Maseeh community; she sought out each advisee and made a personal care package for them. She is wonderful all around!
Editor's note: This recent op-ed piece in the New York Times on how to attract women to the field of engineering features D-Lab as one success story in that effort.
The figures are well known: At Apple 20 percent of tech jobs are held by women and at Google, only 17 percent. A report by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee estimates that nationwide about 14 percent of engineers in the work force are women.
As a woman with a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, I look at those numbers with despair.
Why are there so few female engineers? Many reasons have been offered: workplace sexism, a lack of female role models, stereotypes regarding women’s innate technical incompetency, the difficulties of combining tech careers with motherhood.Proposed fixes include mentor programs, student support groups and targeted recruitment efforts. Initiatives have begun at universities and corporations, including Intel’s recent $300 million diversity commitment.
But maybe one solution is much simpler, and already obvious. An experience here at the University of California, Berkeley, where I teach, suggests that if the content of the work itself is made more societally meaningful, women will enroll in droves. That applies not only to computer engineering but also to more traditional, equally male-dominated fields like mechanical and chemical engineering...
The MIT First Generation Program (FGP) hosted 75 students at a Regional First Generation Student Reception on April 8. Attendees included a mix of students from MIT and four other Boston-area schools: Brandeis, Harvard, Tufts, and Wellesley. The reception provided students with the opportunity to network with first generation students from other elite institutions and to connect around their common identity and experiences.
Student representatives from each school spoke to the group about what it is like to be first generation at their institution, as well as the various initiatives and programs that their first generation student groups or organizations are undertaking on their campuses.
In his remarks, Walter Menendez, a member of MIT’s FGP student advisory board, acknowledged that “first generation students wrestle with their present and past simultaneously,” but he assured the attentive students in the audience that “they are allowed to have ambition and to want more, and do not have to give up part of themselves to get it.” Menendez concluded by urging the students to continue the important work of expanding the first generation student communities at their schools.
On May 11, FGP held a recognition ceremony for MIT seniors who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. These students, along with a handful of first generation MIT faculty, enjoyed the opportunity to gather one last time before the end of the semester, and to celebrate and reflect on their achievements as soon-to-be MIT graduates!
Students also received official FGP 2015 Commencement sashes to wear at graduation. The sashes represent a new tradition at MIT: Commencement regalia specifically created for first generation MIT graduates.
The 85 students who will serve as this summer’s Orientation Leaders have been selected and are already preparing to welcome the MIT Class of 2018 in August. Many of the leaders volunteered at Campus Preview Weekend, helping pre-frosh with luggage check-in, serving as hosts, and assisting with small group icebreakers at the student welcome event.
Orientation Leaders gathered on April 17 for their first official training session. Leaders were able to meet each other, learn what peers would be in their small groups, and engage in some “get to know you” activities. In addition to some quality teambuilding, the students worked through several challenging scenarios that they may encounter, sharing some great advice and suggestions with each other. This year’s Orientation Leaders are an excellent group of students and will undoubtedly ensure that Orientation is a success this summer!
UAAP solicits nominations every year from UROP students for the UROP Mentor of the Year Awards. An award is presented to one MIT faculty member and one graduate student/non-faculty UROP supervisor who have demonstrated exceptional mentorship and teaching in a research setting.
Many nominations were submitted, making the selection highly competitive. This year’s Outstanding UROP Mentor Award recipients are:
Assistant Professor, Picower Institute and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Tye was nominated for her dedication to her UROP students’ academic, personal, and professional well-being and growth. In addition, she was praised for continuously going above and beyond for her students and making them feel like a part of a family. A former UROP student herself, Tye currently conducts research focused on a multidisciplinary approach—including optogenetics, electrophysiology, pharmacology, and imaging techniques—to identify mechanistic explanations for how emotional and motivational states influence behavior in health and disease.
David Martin Warsinger
Graduate Student, Mechanical Engineering
Warsinger is a PhD student in mechanical engineering working in Professor John Lienhard’s group. Multiple UROP students nominated him for his energy and enthusiasm for his work; for his teaching; and for ensuring that each UROP student succeeds in whatever they want to do. Warsinger’s current research is in membrane distillation (MD) scaling.
The Edgerton Center may pride itself on being among the most interesting places at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but it sure doesn’t look it from the street: A machine shop and garage for student projects, the center is tucked inside Building N51, one of those old, nondescript brick-and-concrete structures that dot the Cambridge campus.
But beyond the unassuming front, a maze of hallways leads to a workshop teeming with students who are making impressive scientific and personal advances.
Among the high-tech projects underway are a lightweight solar car that will race across the Australian desert in October and a planetary rover for a NASA-sponsored competition this summer. The students have aptly nicknamed the center Area 51. In one corner, a 1972 Opel is jacked up on a hydraulic lift; students are gutting the car and converting it to an electric vehicle. In another, a few guys are fussing over the brake system of an electric buggy that could hit 6o miles per hour in the Formula SAE electric-car race in Nebraska this June. Across the garage, a woman is welding the solar car’s body, the mold for its sleek carbon-fiber shell upturned on the floor...
In visit to MIT, NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle urges women and girls to dream big.
On a recent early spring evening, an unusual scene unfolded on the riverside steps of Walker Memorial: Members of MIT’s Black Women’s Alliance (BWA) and girls from the Cambridge-based Science Club for Girls (SCG) orbited a woman in a bright blue NASA jumpsuit. The group had gathered to meet the owner of the suit, astronaut Yvonne Cagle, before her community-wide talk, “Women in Space.” As Cagle chatted with the crowd, posed for photos, and signed autographs, it was clear that her enthusiasm for her first-time MIT visit was matched only by that of the women and girls who had come to this very special private reception.
Shortly afterwards in Building 34, MIT junior and BWA co-chair Alyssa Napier welcomed the entire MIT community to the event, which was hosted by the Black Women's Alliance, the Office of Minority Education, and Publicis Groupe. She was followed by Kate Pickle, senior director for programming at SCG, an organization for girls from underrepresented communities that seeks to encourage their excitement about and self-confidence in STEM education.
Sophomore Tiera Guinn, co-chair of BWA, realized a dream by introducing Cagle. As a major in aeronautics and astronautics with a career goal to send someone into space, Guinn nearly teared up as she described Cagle’s career path: Cagle spent 15 years as an Air Force flight surgeon before shifting gears and completing two years of training and evaluation at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in order to serve as a space shuttle flight mission specialist...
Social media has become an important way we engage and inform students. We work with DSL to manage a number of broad, student-focused social media channels, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. If you're new to social media, take a look at our accounts to get a sense of how we use these different channels:
We would love your help in providing great content for these channels. Here is what we are trying to do:
- Raise awareness and build connections. Example: Tweet about an upcoming event or newsy item you'd like to share (in 140 characters or less!).
- Use photos to provide a view into student experiences at MIT beyond typical scenes on campus. For example: Post a photo of an event your department sponsors, a photo you take on campus, or photos taken by a student related to projects, teams, events, etc.
- Share student stories, particularly around academic endeavors. We can work with a student to either write the story or have the student write it.
- Identify students who are interested in running our Instagram account for a few days or a week.
As you plan for the upcoming academic year, we encourage you to consider opportunities to utilize social media to promote your office or program. Please feel free to share with us your ideas for potential student stories, news items, photo opportunities, announcements, or videos.
If you have content you'd like DUE Communications to post, or just have a question about using social media to help you reach students, please contact Elizabeth Durant, Communications Coordinator, at email@example.com.
Summer is a great time for many staff to focus on professional development. MIT is committed to helping employees learn and grow professionally. One of the many resources available to employees is Skillsoft, an online learning platform where you can access a diverse library of content and learning methods. With thousands of courses, job aids, skill briefs, and videos to choose from, users can receive training on communication, leadership skills, time and project management, and many other topics.
Several new staff joined DUE between March 27 - June 3, 2015
Camille Woods, Administrative Assistant II
Experimental Study Group
Bettina McGimsey, Development Associate
Brian Masterson, Technical Instructor
Teaching and Learning Lab
Melissa Barnett, Associate Director for Assessment and Evaluation