Tag Archives: msrp alumn

September 22, 2015

MSRP Alum: Prof. Asegun Henry at S3TEC Seminar at MIT

Asegun Henry, assistant professor of heat transfer, combustion, and energy systems, at Georgia Tech, and an alumni of the ODGE’s MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), presented at a recent S3TEC Seminar at MIT about his work in heat transfer, particularly regarding phonon gas models. You can watch his talk here and find out more on his work on his faculty website.

August 24, 2015


Increasing Diversity of People and Ideas at the Media Lab Through MSRP

MSRP brings undergraduates from schools across the country to MIT to prepare and excite them for the graduate school experience. The program seeks to provide underrepresented minorities with access to opportunities for research and discourse with STEM faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. This challenging summer program demands a great deal from its participants, somewhat aiming to recreate the graduate school experience. It gives students a sense of whether an advanced degree is something they would want to pursue, and if so, if MIT (and in this case the Media Lab) is the right place for them.

Taken a step further, by increasing the number of students the Lab hosts through MSRP, we are increasing the range of people who have access to (and ultimately interest in) the work that we do. This summer, the Media Lab hosted six MSRP interns, Randi Williams, Claudine Humure, Pedro Colon-Hernandez, Elizabeth Gallardo, Ziv Epstein, Hayley Hinsberger, the most we have ever hosted at once, in four research groups: Biomechatronics, Fluid Interfaces, Object-Based Media, and Social Machines. The Media Lab community had a lot to learn from the interns, too; this is a group of students with a vast range of life and research experiences. They each brought their own take to the work, seeing it through a new and unique lens. Not to mention, this was a great mentoring and learning opportunity for the graduate students and postdocs that supervise the interns. Read Monica Orta’s full story at the MediaLab on Medium.com.

July 24, 2014

Llorens-Bonilla designs two extra robotic arms for you

Most of the robotic limbs you hear about are meant to replace arms and legs that have been lost to injury, but MIT is working on robotic limbs that are just meant to add on additional ones, giving people three or four arms so that they can get more done. Its researchers demonstrated the limbs — which they call supernumerary robotic arms — at a conference yesterday in China, and videos show that they’re already working to a basic extent. The current suit reportedly weighs just 10 pounds, but right now it seems to mainly be useful for holding light objects in place.

“Once we combine the most significant behavioral modes we are able to control the robot such that, from the wearer’s perspective, it behaves like an extension of his own body,” Baldin Llorens-Bonilla, an MIT researcher working on robotic limbs, tells IEEE Spectrum. Continue reading about his research on The Verge.

July 8, 2014

NSE’s Lulu Li wins best poster award at CASL workshop

Lulu Li, a graduate student in nuclear science and engineering, has won the award for the best poster presented at the 2014 CASL Annual Education Workshop. Li’s poster described a new physics-based multigrid acceleration method implemented and tested in the OpenMOC framework. At MIT, Li works with professors Kord Smith and Benoit Forget in the Computational Reactor Physics Group (CRPG). CRPG focuses on computational physics methods for modeling and simulation of nuclear reactor cores, including reactor physics analysis methods, core loading design and optimization, and transient safety analysis. Continue reading this article on MIT NewsPhoto by Justin Knight.

July 1, 2014

Robinson focuses on research in nuclear security

When she was accepted into the undergraduate business program at Florida A&M University (FAMU), Mareena Robinson thought she had her future all figured out: She would go to law school and become an attorney, like her father, or else a businesswoman. But when she and her father arrived on campus at the beginning of freshman year, he made an offer the self-described “obedient daughter” couldn’t refuse: to pay a visit to the physics department, where he had a distant connection to a friend-of-a-friend. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll just check it out,’” Robinson says. “I had no intention of going into physics. But when I got up there they treated me like a football player.” Continue reading at MIT News.

May 13, 2014

MSRP/CONVERGE Alumni Become NSF Graduate Research Fellows

Nine of the 2013 MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) alumni and a CONVERGE alum have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships to begin their graduate programs:

  • Kristin Dettmers – incoming MIT Math PhD student
  • Roberto Falcon – incoming Berkeley student
  • Edward Guzman – incoming Harvard student
  • Julie Hofstra – incoming CalTech student
  • Brett Lopez – incoming MIT Aero/Astro PhD student (CONVERGE alumnus)
  • Kemi Oyewole – incoming MIT Economics PhD student
  • Kristina Pardo – incoming Princeton student
  • Monica Perez-Cuevas – incoming GA Tech student
  • Angel Santiago-Lopez – incoming GA Tech student
  • Cesar Torres – current UC Berkeley PhD student

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.  Professor Patricia Ordoñez of the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras and Dr. Frances Carter-Johnson of Evaluation and Assessment Solutions, have worked with the MSRP interns for the past 7 years on crafting strong NSF applications.  Congratulations to the awardees!

February 19, 2014

Mareena Robinson speaks at 2014 MLK Celebration

Mareena Robinson, a two time alum of the MIT Summer Research Program and PhD candidate in Nuclear Science and Engineering, was the graduate student speaker during the 2014 MLK Celebration.  The event also featured the MIT Gospel Choir and an Invocation by Rev. Rahsaan Hall.  The MLK Celebration is an assembly of speakers, presentations and song which serve to inspire the community to rededicate to the vision of Dr. King.

Read more about Robinson and the event on MIT news; click “Read more” to see a video excerpt from the Celebration (Robinson’s talk begins at 14:40).
Read more

December 9, 2013

MSRP alum Gamboa interviews groundbreaking scientist and alumna Villa-Komaroff

As a part Roadtrip Nation, a movement that empowers people to travel the country and speak with leaders from across disciplines, MSRP alum Jackie Gamboa joined two other inquisitive travelers for a journey from California to Massachusetts. In the course of their trip, Gamboa and her fellow travelers met with MIT graduate alum Lydia Villa-Komaroff – the third Mexican-American woman to earn a PhD in the United States and co-founder of SACNAS, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.

View a video of this inspiring interview online at Roadtrip Nation’s website.

November 15, 2013

MSRP Alum Gopeesingh named Rhodes Scholar finalist

MSRP Alum and Hampton University senior Josh Gopeesingh (Chemical Engineering) has been named a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. He will interview in Barbados on November 23rd. Out of approximately 1,000 applicants who are endorsed by their respective universities, only 200 achieve finalist status. Rhodes Scholars further their studies at Oxford University in England.

A native of Trinidad, Gopeesingh is a student in the Honors College and captain of the HU sailing team. He was awarded the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award this year as well. Gopeesingh has a 3.76 grade-point average and during the summer months has conducted research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Syracuse University.

Read more about Gopeesingh on the Hampton University News website.

November 5, 2013

Meyer discovers new role for ‘hunger hormone’

About a dozen years ago, scientists discovered that a hormone called ghrelin enhances appetite. Dubbed the “hunger hormone,” ghrelin was quickly targeted by drug companies seeking treatments for obesity — none of which have yet panned out. MIT neuroscientists have now discovered that ghrelin’s role goes far beyond controlling hunger. The researchers found that ghrelin released during chronic stress makes the brain more vulnerable to traumatic events, suggesting that it may predispose people to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Perhaps we could give people who are going to be deployed into an active combat zone a ghrelin vaccine before they go, so they will have a lower incidence of PTSD. That’s exciting because right now there’s nothing given to people to prevent PTSD,” says Goosens, who is also a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research. Lead author of the paper is Retsina Meyer, a recent MIT PhD recipient, 2009 Hugh Hampton Young Fellow, and former MSRP Program Assistant. Other authors are McGovern postdoc Anthony Burgos-Robles, graduate student Elizabeth Liu, and McGovern research scientist Susana Correia.

Read the rest of the article on MIT News.

October 1, 2013

Handy and the push to create a $30 portable brain recorder

Whether it’s studying the potential for head impact injuries among young football players or adult soldiers, an intriguing area of research that’s gaining buzz is the brain. Imagine small sensors, tucked inside a baseball hat or helmet, which would record electrical activity along your scalp. Your brain wave data then would be collected by mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, so any head impacts could be analyzed on the spot for any serious injuries. “A low-cost EEG system can be part of a laboratory experiment that a 15-year-old might be able to do,” said Erik Handy, principal scientist at SI2 Technologies and MSRP alum. The small business—based in North Billerica, Mass., 25 miles outside Boston—is among four companies that have received federal DARPA funding to create complementary solutions. Continue reading about this project on the CNBC website.

September 17, 2013

Nicholas explores intersection of law and business

An 2008 alumna of the MIT Summer Research Program, Shanita Nicholas is currently in her second year of Columbia Law School’s three-year J.D./M.B.A. program. “Business and law are so interconnected,” she says. “To be able to study them at the same time and merge ideas is wonderful.” Her interest in the overlap and intersection of these two disciplines was piqued in 2010, while developing a paperless requisition process for the FBI as an IT consultant. “Being able to merge the two in ways that I’ve always thought of them as being related,” she explains, “and seeing how [that relationship] plays out in everyday life outside of academia, has been really interesting.” Read more on the Columbia Law School website.

August 27, 2013

MSRP Alumnus Camilli embarks on Nautilus Expedition as Chief Scientist

Dr. Richard Camilli is an Associate Scientist in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering. Camilli is a former NOAA Aquanaut and Ocean Explorer; he has led or participated in over 40 major oceanographic expeditions throughout the world, been a crew member on over two dozen human occupied submersible operations, and logged several hundred hours of bottom time as a technical diver. He is currently Chief Scientist on the 2014 Nautilus expedition to document the myriad natural and cultural resources that lie in U.S. waters. Read more about Camilli and the 2014 Nautilus Expedition on the Nautilus Live website.

July 17, 2013


Cyntrica Eaton on her life and work as a scientist

Cyntrica Eaton, an alumna of the MIT Summer Research Program, sat down for an interview and answered questions on her life inspiration and her work as a scientist. The interview is featured by ScienceLives and the National Science Foundation. Cyntrica Eaton is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Norfolk State University in Virginia. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of several publications, including A Framework for Detecting and Diagnosing Configuration Faults in Web Applications and Advances in Web TestingPhoto by NSF. Read more

June 18, 2013

Pearlson: LAE researcher and co-founder of Bow-Tie startup

MSRP Alumnus Matthew Pearlson does three things when he’s not making bow ties:

1. He is a research specialist in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics working on renewable jet fuel for the commercial jet aviation industry.

2. He works at Citizens Energy Corporation running a project for our chairman, Joseph P. Kennedy II. The project provides solar electric systems for low-income families in Southern California’s Imperial Valley. This project helps over 100 households a year reduce their electric bill while allowing them to turn their air conditioning on in their homes.

3. He trains for long-distance running. A few years ago he ran the Boston Marathon as a “bandit,” which means he didn’t have a number but ran for fun.

Continue reading Pearlson’s interview on JewishBoston, or more about his research on MIT’s Lab for Aviation and the Environment website.

March 12, 2013

Alumna Silberman competes for a shot in the NFL

MIT alumni are known for a “do-anything” mindset but Lauren Silberman SM ’10 may have set the loftiest goal yet. Despite not playing on the football team at MIT (or anywhere else), she is attempting to become the first Institute alum and first woman to play in the National Football League (NFL). Read more about Silberman on the MIT Alumni website.

January 2, 2013

MSRP Alumnus Valencia Makes Forbes List

Pedro Valencia PhD ’12, an alumnus of the MIT Summer Research Program, was named in the December 2012 Forbes 30 under 30: Science and Healthcare list as one rising stars who are transforming their fields. Valencia figured out how to more quickly synthesize nanoparticles that can be used to make drugs more effective and less toxic and to put multiple drugs inside the same nanotech medicine. His research led to many distinguished publications and a start-up Blend Therapeutics. Valencia earned his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007, and completed his MS in chemical engineering practice at MIT in 2009. He was the recipient of the NSF Graduate Fellowship, and co-advised by Professor Langer and Dr. Omid Farokhzad of the Brigham Women’s Hospital – Harvard Medical School. See the original post at forbes.com.

December 11, 2012

Alumnus Henry receives $3.6 M to develop high-efficiency solar reactor

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have been awarded three grants totaling more than $9 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to develop energy technology solutions.  The three new awards are for projects involving solar fuel generation, power generation from vortices of solar heated air and energy storage.  Asegun Henry, assistant professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering as well as MIT Mechanical Engineering alumnus (MSME and PhD) and MSRP alum, will receive $3.6 million to develop a high-efficiency solar reactor to produce solar fuel.  Using liquid metal, the reactor transports heat away from the sunlight-collection point to a chemical reaction zone, minimizing the loss of solar heat.  This system could enable cost-effective solar fuels that would be used for transportation and continuous electric power generation. 
Read the entire report in the Georgia Tech Newsroom.

November 15, 2012

Williams developing friendly car-bot ‘AIDA’

AIDA is an intelligent dashboard companion that not only reads the road, but should soon read your mood too. “People tend to have this inherent bond with their cars,” says Kenton Williams of the Personal Robots Group, who is lead researcher on the project. “If you can leverage that to create a stronger bond, then we think you can make the driving experience more enjoyable.” Continue reading about Williams’ research on Fastcompany.

May 10, 2012

Robinson wins Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship

In April, Mareena Robinson was one of five students awarded the prestigious Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF), which is sponsored by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Robinson is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, with a focus on nuclear security. This fellowship program provides four year of benefits and opportunities to students pursuing a PhD in areas of interest to stewardship science. Continue reading this article on MIT News.

April 19, 2012

Seibert awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

From cognitive neuroscience to theoretical physics, this year’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellows from the University of Houston (UH) have their sights set on careers in fields ranging from medicine to energy.

Darren Seibert is a biomedical engineering major and also a member of the Honors College. He is working toward understanding the neural computations underlying visual perception. He has had the opportunity to collaborate on projects that use functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, with Michael Tarr’s lab at Carnegie Mellon University and electrophysiology in Dr. James DiCarlo’s lab at MIT. Continue reading about Seibert on the University of Houston News website.

December 18, 2011


CEE PhD candidate Malek wins Marshall Sherfield Fellowship

Samar Malek, a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and former Program Assistant for the MIT Summer Research Program, has been named the 2012 Marshall Sherfield Fellow. Malek will conduct research on gridshell structures with the leading expert at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. The Fellowships, which are funded by the Marshall Sherfield Fellowship Foundation and administered by the Marshall Commission, enable an American scientist or engineer to undertake post-doctoral research for a period of one to two academic years at a British university or research institute. Malek is completing her doctoral dissertation under the supervision of professor John Ochsendorf in the Department of Architecture and CEE. Read MIT News article here; photo by Justin Knight. Congratulations!

October 17, 2011

Booker receives Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award

Squire J. Booker, an associate professor of chemistry and an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University, has been honored with an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. Booker is an alumnus of the MIT MSRP program and obtained a doctoral degree in biochemistry at MIT in 1994. The award, which consists of a monetary prize and an unrestricted research grant, is given by the American Chemical Society “to recognize and encourage excellence in organic chemistry.” Continue reading about Booker’s accomplishment on the Penn State Science website.

August 28, 2011

Sergio Cantu paper featured on Physics Today

Sergio Cantu, a two-year participant of the MIT Summer Research Program, just published a paper entitled Teaching introductory undergraduate Physics using commercial video games.  “Commercial video games are increasingly using sophisticated physics simulations to create a more immersive experience for players. This also makes them a powerful tool for engaging students in learning physics. We provide some examples to show how commercial off-the-shelf games can be used to teach specific topics in introductory undergraduate physics. The examples are selected from a course taught predominantly through the medium of commercial video games.”  The paper was featured on Physics Today‘s Facebook page as well as on their homepage.

July 31, 2011

NASA Goddard Summer Interns: Danielle Wood

Danielle Wood is a doctoral candidate at MIT in the Engineering Systems Division and a NASA intern. At MIT she studies aerospace engineering, technology policy and international development. She now applies her research to all of these areas to study the technical and programmatic challenges of new satellite programs. Throughout her career, Danielle has had many diverse experiences with NASA as an intern, guest researcher, graduate fellow, contractor and Student Ambassador. She currently serves as an intern at Goddard in the Innovative Partnerships Program and at NASA Headquarters in the Office of the Chief Technologist. The mission of her current internship is to consider new ways that NASA technology spin-offs can be deployed for the benefit of developing countries. Read more

April 21, 2011

Meyen develops space suit in Man Vehicle Laboratory

As a child, Forrest Meyen‘s curiosity led him to mountaintops surrounding his Eagle River home. Now the 21-year-old student aspires to reach outer space. A senior majoring in biological and mechanical engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Meyen received the rare opportunity to study space exploration when attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Summer Research Program last year. While developing an improved space suit, Meyen trained life-size robots and honed his own research skills in the process. Continue reading this article in The Alaska Star archives.

March 2, 2011

Kinde recognized as 2011 Gilliam Fellow

Benyam Kinde likes solving problems. He learned early in life that he could figure out most everything with ingenuity and hard work, thanks to the examples set by his parents, a math teacher and a large-animal veterinarian. The riddles that attract scientists and doctors began to intrigue Kinde in grade school, kindled by a school assignment to write about a parent’s job. As part of the assignment, he watched with fascination—instead of revulsion—as his father performed necropsies on large animals, including horses and cows. Continue reading about Kinde on the HHMI News website.

February 15, 2011

Glenn receives Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award

Three MIT community members and one MIT organization have been named recipients of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards for 2011 in recognition of their service to the Institute and beyond. Candidates for the leadership awards are nominated by colleagues and chosen by the MLK Jr. Planning Committee, a subcommittee of MIT’s Committee on Race and Diversity.

Weslee Glenn, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, was recognized for his role in the development of teacher training material on the topic of reducing stereotype threat. Continue reading about Glenn and other recipients on MIT News.