The Inside Scoop on DUE: November 2015
The Institute tops a cadre of 105 schools for “extraordinary efforts” in advancing the association’s mission.
For MIT junior Luzdary Ruelas, being selected to attend the national conference of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) over Columbus Day weekend was thrill enough. Ruelas was one of 10 students who attended the conference, along with associate dean and director of the Office of Minority Education (OME) DiOnetta Jones Crayton. After the students gathered at Logan Airport for the Miami-bound flight, Crayton surprised them with some news: “She told us right before we got on the plane that MIT was receiving an award, so it was pretty exciting!” Ruelas says.
Crayton was surprised by the recognition, as well, when she was notified this summer. “We didn’t even know we were eligible for the award,” she says. The award names MIT as the 2015 Outstanding Associate HACU-Member Institution, given in honor of “the extraordinary efforts and success of an institution that has excelled in advancing the mission and goals of HACU.” MIT was selected from a pool of 105 HACU associate member institutions from 28 states and the District of Columbia. (Associate membership — one of four categories of membership — includes institutions that have at least 10 percent Hispanic enrollment; among all membership categories, HACU has over 480 member institutions.)
In her acceptance speech, Crayton expressed how “deeply grateful and humbled we are to receive the Outstanding Associate-Member Institution Award. MIT has a long-standing commitment to diversity, and this award is both a testimony to our efforts and a challenge to us as well … a challenge to not only sustain but to surpass the standards that we have set for the Institute in the area of diversity and inclusion...
The First Generation Program (FGP) hosted its third annual Alumni Dinner in early November. As in previous years, this event provided students with the opportunity to connect with first generation MIT alumni to learn about their experiences at MIT and their professional paths after graduating, and to receive advice.
A diverse group of 15 alumni made up of engineers, architects, doctors, professors, and consultants joined 26 current undergraduate students for the reception and dinner. The program featured two alumni speakers, Dr. Shoey Au, MD ’98, a dermatology resident at Tufts Medical Center, and George Borhegyi ’87, a project management and technology consultant. Au and Borhegyi emphasized how their background instilled in them skills and qualities that helped them achieve their professional goals, and they urged the students to not limit themselves when thinking about their future.
The Alumni Dinner provided a great opportunity for first generation students to expand their professional network and develop relationships with alumni who work in fields they want to learn more about and might want to pursue after graduation. For their part, the alumni enjoyed the opportunity to meet current first generation students, share their stories, and provide advice.
The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming hosted its third annual “Trick or Treat for Advice Week” program during the week of October 26–30. This program is designed to raise student awareness about the UAAP office and the programs and resources it provides, and comes at a point in the semester where students can be facing some stress. This year’s events included an office open house, an Academic Integrity quiz, a study break with Associate Advisors, and faculty receptions and lunches for first-year students.
Similar to last year, students could also participate in the “Trick or Treat for Advice Week” challenge. By attending events and visiting the three UAAP office suites, students earned stickers on their advice week card. Students who received three stickers received a Halloween goody bag and an entry into a TechCash raffle. Congratulations to Lila Jansen, who was our raffle winner!
Overall, the program was a huge success! By the end of the week, over 350 students had visited the UAAP office for at least one program, and over 30 completed the “Trick or Treat for Advice Week” challenge. Additionally, there were 100 students who took a few minutes of their time to write a gratitude note to someone at MIT who has given them support and advice this semester. The UAAP looks forward to continuing this annual tradition next year!
Laboring for countless hours on the lower body layup, sleeping under the stars in Australia, seeing one’s brake mounts in action for the first time.
Held every other year, the WSC challenges students to design and build an efficient electric vehicle that can travel 3,000 km across the Australian continent – from Darwin to Adelaide – powered by sunlight. The 8-day challenge “seeks to inspire some of the brightest young people on the planet to address the imperatives of sustainable transport,” according to the WSC website.
Competing in the Challenger class in which vehicles can average over 90kph – and against teams with twice as many members – Arcturus performed well for the initial stage of the race. On the second day, however, a short in the electrical system burned out some of the electronics and the team lost two valuable hours of driving time.
In the latter part of the challenge, intermittent connectivity issues between the battery management system (BMS) (which ensures the batteries are safe) and the rest of the car caused the car to turn itself off. The team then had to wait until the BMS gave the green light to continue driving. Ultimately the team made it to the finish line in Adelaide for the celebration and placed 23rd in a field of 29 vehicles...
On November 4, several offices within DUE came together to host a day of stress-relieving activities for students. DUE Recharge Day was a collaborative effort to provide students with an opportunity to engage with the DUE offices and take a few minutes out of their day to relax and “recharge.”
Each office hosted its own unique activities, and they were all very popular with students! The events included:
- Global Education and Career Development: GECD Play Time with Play-Doh and puzzles
- Curriculum and Faculty Support: Cookies and Canines (therapy dogs)
- Registrar’s Office: Marga-REG-aville, a variety of beach-themed activities and snacks
- Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming: legos, darts, and cupcake decorating
- Student Financial Services: Jumbo Games, including a life-size keyboard
- Admissions: Cornhole and Candy
- Office of Minority Education: Hugs and Hot Chocolate
- Edgerton Center: Balloon Pop and Build an Electronic Bug
Students were also encouraged to participate in a "passport challenge." The passport was a card that students could take to each location and receive a sticker for participating. If students visited at least four offices, they were entered into a TechCash raffle, and the first 100 students to complete the challenge received a DUE Recharge portable cell phone charger. Over 400 students participated in the challenge, and 125 completed it. Congratulations to our raffle winners, Niyati Desai ’19, Jackson Kearl ’19, Linh V. Nguyen ’17, and Erica Waller ’17!
A special thank you to the DUE Recharge Committee, who worked hard over the past few months to bring this event to life. The committee included Leslie Bridson (SFS), Camilla Brinkman (Edgerton), Elizabeth Durant (DUE HQ), Patty Fernandes (Curriculum and Faculty Support), David Kenton (OME), Meredith Pepin (GECD), Maura Tierney (Admissions), and Jessica Zdon-Smith (Registrar).
P-sets. Dorm Rush. Mystery Hunt. All iconic slices of MIT life. But there’s another MIT beyond this square mile of Cambridge. And that MIT is everywhere.
One piece of it is in Madrid, where every year dozens of MIT students study and intern abroad. Some intern through MISTI, while others spend IAP learning Spanish or reading literature through the IAP-Madrid and IAP Global Literature programs.
Only a handful spend spring semester studying science and engineering at Spanish universities, in classes taught in Spanish. They do it through the MIT-Madrid program, and for them, Madrid is an essential part of the MIT experience.
“My MIT experience would have been incomplete without Madrid,” claims Eric, a Course 6 senior who studied in Madrid last spring. “Some of my best memories of MIT will undoubtedly be from when I studied abroad.”
It’s not unusual to hear that from a student who’s gone abroad. “The most significant and life-changing experience of my undergraduate education at MIT happened abroad,” adds Franco, a MechE alum who went to Madrid in 2012...
During the weekend of October 23-25, Arnold Air Society (AAS) of the New England region held its annual conclave in Boston. ROTC conclaves are gatherings held periodically at the regional and national level. Cadet Nikko James '17 of MIT’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 365, took the lead in planning the Boston conclave. With approximately 80 cadets, associates, and Silver Wings (SW) members in attendance, it proved to be one of the most attended conclaves.
Air Force ROTC cadets from across New England arrived with excitement and high expectations, looking forward to connecting with fellow cadets from other universities as well as developing future plans for AAS. Arnold Air Society is a professional, honorary, service-oriented organization consisting of Air Force ROTC cadets. Silver Wings is a national, professional, educational civilian service organization dedicated to creating proactive, knowledgeable, and effective civic leaders through community service and education about national defense.
In addition to Cadet James, cadets from MIT’s Detachment 365, Boston University, and Rochester Institute of Technology helped plan the event. Through careful organization and hard work, the group planned a conclave to remember that included several iconic Boston activities; cadets enjoyed a Freedom Trail walk and social, a Duck Tour, a formal banquet, and a private tour of the USS Constitution. Overall, this year’s conclave was a success, thanks to the dedication of the conclave planning committee and the members who gave their time to continue the excellent work of AAS and SW.
Now in its 10th year, Instructor Elizabeth Cavicchi’s seminar EC.050 (Recreate Experiments from History) engages students in recreating the earliest experiments as a means to understanding what scientists and engineers learned centuries ago. In the process, students deepen their understanding of how the earliest scientists and engineers understood the natural world.
While this was MIT senior Ronald Heisser’s smallest MIT course in terms of class size, it was actually his most fruitful one. "We discussed everything from astrolabes and Islamic tile stone-cutting to Franz Reuleaux, Faraday, and Feynman,” Heisser wrote in his blog.
The course is multifaceted and truly experiential involving exploration, observation, wondering aloud, questioning preconceived ideas, and experiments. Students had the opportunity to observe a demonstration of traditional lacemaking as a means to understanding how geometrical symmetries are constructed with thread; saw up close a 17th century Persian astrolabe housed at Harvard’s Houghton library; and observed the MIThenge phenomenon when the sun can be seen down the entire length of the Infinite.
Investigations continued past spring semester for both Heisser and Francesca Liuni, a graduate student in architecture. Both students, with the support of the Edgerton Center, traveled to Turin, Italy, in September with Cavicchi to participate in the annual Scientific Instrument Commission’s meeting...
D-Lab: real projects with real impact through community partnerships
D-Lab’s relationships with its community partners—the organizations on four continents that define D-Lab class projects, host D-Lab students, staff, and researchers, and collaborate deeply with D-Lab on the design and implementation of technologies and ideas intended to improve the work and lives of people living in extreme poverty—are a cornerstone of the D-Lab program and its approach to international development.
From university partners like Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Peru's Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología, to local organizations such as Uganda's Teso Women Development Initiative and Avani in India, D-Lab's partnerships on the ground are the crucial link that allows students to interact with community members and work together on real projects with real impact.
Managing long-term D-Lab projects with ASAPROSAR to ensure successful outcomes
Last month, I spent the last two weeks on my annual summer trip to El Salvador to follow up on projects with our partner ASAPROSAR, Salvadoran Association for Rural Health, and plan our work for the coming year.
ASAPROSAR was started by Salvadorans over 40 years ago and works throughout the country on visual and general health, rural livelihoods, environmental stewardship, youth education and entrepreneurship, and many more areas. D-Lab has been working with ASAPROSAR since 2011 and has engaged approximately 20 students and six staff members there, on projects ranging from biodigesters to youth creative capacity building...
DUE welcomed the following new employees between Sept. 1, 2015 and Nov. 9, 2015:
Global Education and Career Development
|Susan Byers Paxson||Administrative Assistant I|
|Libby Reed||Career Development Specialist|
|Meaghan Shea||Prehealth Advisor|
|Michael Sim||Technical Instructor|
|Kaitlyn Danehy||Administrative Assistant|
|Veronica Santana||Program Assistant|
|Lilen Uchima||Program Coordinator|
|Claudio Valencia||Program Assistant|
Congratulations to all!