UAAP Associate Advisors Talk to Salemwood Middle Schoolers about Becoming Successful Students

Leslie Bottari, Staff Associate, UAAP

The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming welcomed 12 enthusiastic students to MIT from Salemwood Middle School in Malden, Massachusetts on November 17. The middle schoolers, who represented grades 5-8, eagerly arrived on campus to learn firsthand what makes a successful student.

They began their visit at the Edgerton Center by participating in CSI: MIT, an interactive activity designed to develop skills necessary to work successfully in groups. The activity was a forensics lesson in which the students attempted to solve a hack on campus using fingerprinting, blood-typing, chromatography and use of microscopes to examine hair and fiber samples. After Edgerton, the students enjoyed a campus tour, followed by a special lunch hosted by some of the UAAP’s best and brightest Associate Advisors: Obasi Onuoha '17 Course 3), Ayomide Fatunde ’18 (Course 10), Filip Twarowski ’17 (Courses 16 and 18), Katie Fisher’19  (Course 2A), and Raul Boquin '17 (Course 18).

The MIT visit came about as a result of a project by Salemwood’s students to develop their own professional development day modeled after their teachers’. Salemwood School’s mission is to provide students with professional development opportunities to encourage higher levels of engagement and involvement to improve student learning. To that end, they surveyed over 400 5th‒8th grade students to identify what aspects of being a student they felt were most important to their success. The top four areas they cited were how to develop good study habits, test preparation, working in groups, and time/stress management. We all agree that MIT students are fully equipped to speak about the importance of these habits for academic success!

The middle schoolers came prepared with questions to ask the UAAP’s 5 Associate Advisors. Some of these included: “What is the project/work you have done that you are most proud of?”, “What is a subject you were bad at when you were younger and how did you turn it around and get good at it?”, and “Did you ever feel like quitting in your life?” MIT’s five student leaders responded to the questions by generously sharing their personal stories and experiences with the Salemwood students.

It’s safe to say that the day made a big impression on the Salemwood students. One 7th grade boy compared the experience of learning from MIT students about how to become a better student to learning how to become a better basketball player from LeBron James!