Monthly Archives: October 2011

October 31, 2011

A Passon for Life on Ice

Alison Criscitiello studies Marine Geology and Geophysics in the MIT-WHOI joint program. Her principal interest is in glaciology; each winter for the past two years, Alison has travelled to Antartica to drill for research on ice-core composition. Alison is a 2010 DOE Graduate Fellow. Check out her Spotlight from October 2011 on the Program for Atmospheres Oceans and Climate website!

October 27, 2011

GSC Forum on Student Space

GSC SpaceMIT Graduate Students collaborate, study, eat, relax… but where?  The GSC Forum on Student Space is taking place on Wednesday, November 2nd at 6:30pm in Pritchett Lounge (50-258), where students can voice their opinions and help design the future of student space at MIT.  The event will focus on solutions and ideas to solve student space issues.  Food and drinks will be served.  The GSC wants to know how students currently use space and evaluate it both quality and quantity-wise.  For more information, contact  The deadline for this competition is October 31st, at midnight.

October 27, 2011

Nominate a grad student for MIT Corporation membership

Sarah Stewart Johnson, Corporation MemberNow is the time to nominate a student to become a member of the MIT Corporation, the highest governing body of the Institute.  Every year, one recent graduate is elected to serve a five-year term on this group; see current Corporation member Sarah Stewart Johnson, EAPS PhD ’08, at left.  Participating in the Corporation is an exciting opportunity to take part in the governance of MIT, provide a valued perspective on important issues facing MIT, and interact with senior leaders in business, industry, and academia.  Graduates of ’10, ’11, as well as prospective ’12 graduates are eligible to be nominated for this position.  Self-nominations are welcome.  The deadline for nominations is October 31, 2011 at 5:00pm (ET) to submit a nomination online.

October 26, 2011

BCS graduate student Hyowon Gweon on early childhood cognition

Brain and Cognitive Sciences Graduate Student Hyowon Gweon, under the supervision of her advisor Dr. Laura Schulz, reports in the journal Science 332 (2011): “16-Month-Olds Rationally Infer Causes of Failed Actions.” Hyowon’s research focuses on neural and cognitive underpinnings of social learning, in particular cases where learning and teaching occur as a joint goal-directed activity in which both the teacher and the learner intends to offer and receive information in an optimal way. Read an MIT News article on their work here.

October 26, 2011

Public Service Center November Opportunities

Public Service The MIT Public Service Center offers a wide range of support for public service experiences that suit the interests, abilities, and needs of MIT students, and in some cases, the larger MIT community including; Fellowships and Internships, Grants, the IDEAS Global Challenge, Service Learning, Volunteer Programs, and Community Service Work-Study positions. Students obtain hands-on experiences that serve communities and the students themselves in life-transforming ways. Read more about the November annoucements. Read more

October 26, 2011

Tyler Perrachione of BCS studies voice recognition

Tyler Brain and Cognitive Sciences graduate student Tyler Perrachione is 1st author on recent publication in Science 333 (2011): “Human Voice Recognition Depends on Language Ability.” By comparing the voice-recognition abilities of dyslexic and control listeners for native and unfamiliar languages, he found that dyslexic individuals exhibited impaired voice-recognition abilities compared with controls only for voices speaking their native language. Tyler’s research focuses more broadly on cognitive and systems neuroscience of human communication. Read the MIT news article here.

October 26, 2011

Attend An Information Session on the Global Fellows Program in UK

Global Fellows Program

The MIT Global Education & Career Development (GECD) and Imperial College London are jointly offering an intensive 4 day Global Fellows Program, which is sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) & the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE). Through presentations,  interactive work and hands-on activities, PhD students from Imperial  (20) and MIT (20) will develop professional skills required to launch  and manage a successful research career. Emphasis will be on creating  and sustaining successful international research collaborations.Topics covered will include: building successful working relationships and global collaborations, team and project development, and global intercultural skills and communication. This workshop will take place March 26-30, 2012 (Spring Break) in Near London, United Kingdom. If accepted, all travel, program and some meal costs are covered. An information session will be held: Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, 3-4 PM, Room 3-442. Application Due: Wednesday, December 28 by 5:00 PM. Contact: Kimberly Benard.

October 25, 2011

GW@MIT Fall Leadership Conference

Attend the Graduate Women at MIT (GW@MIT) Fall Leadership Conference, November 7-10, 2011 on the MIT campus. RSVP:; Contact: The event will include topics such as “Unlock Your Leadership Potential,” “How to Give a Scientific Talk,” an Entrepreneurship Panel, Time and Stress Management Workshop, Neworking Workshop and reception and “From Unlocked to Unleashed: Leadership in Your Life.” This event was co-sponsored by ODGE.

October 23, 2011

PhD Alumni Joseph S. Francisco Hosts ACS Webinar on Innovation

franciscoMIT PhD Alumni Joseph S. Francisco, 2010 ACS President and William E. Moore Distinguished Professor—Physical Chemistry at Purdue University, participates in an American Chemical Society webinar on “Entrepreneurship + Innovation = Jobs” with keynote speakers George Whitesides (Harvard University) and moderator, Madeleine Jacobs (American Chemical Society) to discuss the recent ACS Task Force on Innovation.

October 22, 2011

PhD Alumni Joseph Aoun to receive the Muh Alumni Award

MuhDr. Joseph Aoun PhD ’82, the president of Northeastern University will receive the 2011 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award during a ceremony, award lecture entitled “The Future of American Higher Education in the Global Knowledge Marketplace,” and reception at 5pm on Wednesday, Oct. 26
 in MIT Bartos Theater | E15 on 20 Ames Street, MIT Campus. Read more here.

October 22, 2011

Nenad Miljkovic of MechE develops solar-thermoelectric systems

NenadMechanical Engineering (Course 2) graduate student Nenad Miljkovic is 1st author on publication in the journal Solar Energy, entitled, “Modeling and optimization of hybrid solar thermoelectric systems with thermosyphons,” along with his research advisor, Evelyn Wang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. This study utilizes thermoelectrics which are devices that can exhibit an electric current in response to a temperature gradient,  into a concentrating solar thermal system, also called a “parabolic trough.” Congratulations!  Read the MIT News article on his work. Photo: Dominick Reuter

October 21, 2011

Akbulut Halatci, Choudhury, Aiello, Hashmi and Joshi Win the Future

Future Faculty FellowsThree MIT graduate students (Nada Hashmi of Sloan, Clarice Demarchi Aiello of NSE, Gauri Joshi of EECS),  one MIT graduate alumna (Ozge Akbulut Halatci of DMSE), and one MIT visiting professor (Charisma Choudhury of CEE) are currently Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellows. These fellowships are awarded to women academics in science and engineering from developing and emerging countries, and provide funding for advanced graduate study at top universities abroad. Launched in 2004, the program has a long-term goal of generating conditions that result in more women pursuing doctorate and post-doctorate studies in scientific disciplines. Read more

October 21, 2011

Graduate student Alex Evans to attend Kremlin Fellows Program

Alex EvansAlex Evans, graduate student in Earth and Planetary Sciences and President of the MIT Graduate Student Council will attend the Fall 2011 Kremlin Fellows Program sponsored by the Russian Federation’s Federal Agency on Youth Affairs. The goal is to directly engage the next generation of American leadership to receive debriefings with leading experts in Russia. The Kremlin Fellows Program is facilitated by Open World Leadership Center, a US legislative branch federal agency.


October 20, 2011

Green-thumbed graduate students create skyline oasis at McCormick

McCormickGardenThe penthouse patio on the eighth floor of McCormick Hall’s east tower has one of the best views of the Boston skyline on campus, but until last year it was a drab, underused deck. Now, it’s part farm, part high-altitude oasis thanks to two of the community’s Graduate Resident Tutors (GRT).

Bridget Wall began a garden on the McCormick rooftop last year, and this year she and fellow GRT Melinda Hale are inviting McCormick residents to enjoy the newly refreshed space. While the height of the growing season is during the summer when most residents are away, the pair welcomes McCormick students to enjoy and discuss the garden during school-year study breaks.  Continue reading the article.  Photo: Tom Gearty

October 19, 2011

Resources for Spouses&Partners@MIT

Spouses and PartnersSpouses&Partners@MIT provides valuable resources to the families of MIT students. The Newcomers Guide is a resource for graduate students and their families to find information about English classes, housing, childcare, finding a job, and much more. FamilyNet, the online community for MIT families, is a place to connect with other MIT families, find others who want to exchange babysitting or share nannies, and find MIT-affiliated babysitters; upcoming fall events include: Kids Clothing Exchange, Evening Networking Event for spouses and partners, Happiest Baby on the Block workshops, campus-wide Halloween party, and more. Contact Jennifer Recklet Tassi at or (617) 253-1614 for more information.

October 19, 2011

Free personal writing and presentation advice

WritingThe Writing and Communication Center (12-132) offers students free one-on-one professional advice from published writers about oral presentations and about all types of academic, creative, and professional writing.  To schedule an appointment, go to the Writing and Communication Center website and click on “Appointment.”  If you cannot find an appointment, you may ask to be notified by email when a cancellation occurs.  The Writing Center recommends that students schedule early if possible.

October 18, 2011

Rebecca Dell Selected as a Switzer Environmental Fellow

SwitzerRebecca Dell, a Ph.D. student studying with Professor Carl Wunsch in Physical Oceanography in the MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, has achieved the high honor of being selected as a Switzer Environmental Fellow by the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation.  Dell’s research focuses on mixing in the deep ocean, and its importance for understanding the energetics of ocean circulation.  Her research has taken her to sea on two research cruises, both of which featured hurricane-force winds. Outside of her research, she has a strong interest in climate and energy policy, and is one of the lead organizers of the 3000-member MIT Energy Club. Read more

October 17, 2011

New Transcript Ordering and Delivery Service

RegistrarThe Office of the Registrar has introduced a brand new convenient and accessible transcript ordering and delivery service.  Current and former students now have the option to order official transcripts online as well as 1) The ability to securely order transcripts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world, 2) The ability to track orders, view details such as express shipping tracking numbers, and receive notification when orders are processed, 3) The option to send a transcript electronically as a certified PDF document, or in the traditional paper format, and 4) The option of delivery to a recipient within 30 minutes of an order (for electronically sent transcripts). Read more

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.

October 15, 2011

MechE PhD Alumnus Norman Fortenberry Executive Director of ASEE

FortenberryDr. Norman Fortenberry, Mechanical Engineering PhD Alumnus ’91, and a longtime leader in education scholarship who has held senior positions at the National Science Foundation and National Academy of Engineering, has been appointed Executive Director of the American Society for Engineering Education.

October 15, 2011

PhD Alumna Lisa Dyson Founder and CEO of Kiverdi

Physics PhD Alumna Dr. Lisa Dyson ’04 is the founder and CEO of Kiverdi, a company whose goal is to develop alternative fuels and bio-products that reduce reliance on petroleum, lowers carbon dioxide emissions, and has the ability to realistically meet growing energy demands without impacting the economics of food production or posing a threat to natural habitats. Dr. Dyson has conducted research in Bioengineering and Physics, including energy research, at Stanford University, UC-Berkeley, Princeton University, the UC-San Francisco, MIT, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Dr. Dyson has a PhD in Physics from MIT, where she conducted research in String Theory, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of London, where she received an MS in Physics with an emphasis in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces, and has degrees in Mathematics and Physics from Brandeis University.

October 15, 2011

Steven Isakowitz

Aero-Astro Grad Alumnus Steven Isakowitz now Virgin Galactic CTO

Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS, has appointed MIT alumnus Steven J. Isakowitz (SM ’84) as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Watch video of Steven Isakowitz at ODGE-sponsored MIT150 event, “What can a graduate degree do for you?” on TechTV.

October 15, 2011

15 MIT graduate students named Siebel Scholars

15 graduate students from MIT’s Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Department of Biological Engineering (BE) and the Sloan School of Management have been named among the 85 new Siebel Scholars for 2012. The Siebel Scholars program was founded in 2000 and honors students who exhibit exceptional academic performance and leadership in the fields of business, computer science, and bioengineering. Siebel scholars receive a $35,000 award during their final year of Masters program studies. This year’s honorees from MIT are: Elie Adam (EECS), Paul Artiuch (Sloan), Kathryn Bach (Sloan), Robbie Barbero (BE), Scott Carlson (BE), Angela Chang (EECS), George Chen (EECS), Daniel Coleman (Sloan), Ed Hallen (Sloan), Ankit Jain (Sloan), Nirmesh Malviya (EECS), Yuri Matsumoto (BE), Melody Morris (BE), Ranjani Paradise (BE), Fan Zhang (EECS). Meet the scholars here.

October 15, 2011

Kuang Xu Named Xerox Fellow 2011

Kuang Xu, Presidential Fellow, is a student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. His research focuses on cloud and distributed computing, and understanding the performance implications of centralized computing. He is one of five graduate students who make up the fourth cohort of Xerox Fellows, honored on October 13, 2011, who focus their research on areas such as green technologies, imaging and smart-document technology, nanotechnology and systems design. The award supports top-tier students in the School of Engineering, especially underrepresented groups, and connects them with Xerox professionals who serve as mentors through the fellowship year. The students are also invited to spend the summer working at one of Xerox’s four research centers worldwide. For the original article and a list of all 2011 recipients, please visit the MIT Engineering News webpage.

October 14, 2011

Register for MIT-China Entrepreneurship Forum

The MIT-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (MIT-CHIEF), co-sponsored by ODGE, will be held November 19-20, 2011. MIT-CHIEF is an annually-held conference and high-profile platform for intellectual exchange to foster deeper and broader collaboration between China and the United States in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.  Leading authorities from academia, industries, enterprises, businesses, and government institutions, from both China and the US, will convene at MIT to deliver presentations and showcase their work. Register here.

October 7, 2011

PhD Alumni Jessica Coon’s research on Mayan Language

Read about Linguistics PhD Alumni 10′ Jessica Coon‘s research on Mayan Language. Dr. Coon is currently an assistant professor in the department of linguistics at McGill University. Her research is focused on syntax and morphology, especially on ergativity, split ergativity, Case and agreement systems, nominalization, and verb-initial word orders. Currently she is carrying out a Banting Postdoctoral project on syntax of Mayan and Austronesian languages. Read MIT News article on her research here.

October 6, 2011

MIT/WHOI graduate student studies holography and oceanography

 Video of MIT Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute PhD Student Nick Loomis discussing his research in underwater digital holography for plankton imaging and automated identification. Read more about MIT/WHOI graduate student research here.

October 6, 2011

Take Responsible Conduct of Research Training!

Dean Ortiz encourages all graduate students to complete the online Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) onltraining course offered by MIT. See full letter to graduate students here. Examples questions addressed include the following. Are enhancements to photographic evidence dishonest? Who owns the data I collect during my graduate research? What does the difference between the first and last author on a publication signify? What is a “ghost author”? What are the responsibilities of my faculty mentor? Can I get involved in commercialization activities before I graduate? The link to the RCR course can be found here:

October 6, 2011

New Student Life and Learning Digest

The new Student Life and Learning Monthly Email Digest has been launched by the Chancellor, the Dean for Graduate Education, The Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Dean for Student Life. Each month, tthe Chancellor and Deans will share perspectives on topics of importance to students. Along with short messages, links to recent news and resources will be provided. Read the October 2011 issue here.

October 6, 2011

Submit a brief essay to Science NextGen VOICES

In the 7 October issue, the journal Science is launching NextGen VOICES, a new feature that calls upon young scientists to speak up. Make your ideas known! A selection of the best responses will be published in the 6 January 2012 issue of Science. Science will ask a question and collect brief essays, the best of which will be published in a future issue. Here is the question: How will the practice of science change in your lifetime? What will improve and what new challenges will emerge? (Please respond in 250 words or less.). To submit, go to: The submission deadline is 18 November.

October 5, 2011

Alejandro (Alex) Rodriguez, physics graduate student, on YouTube

Alejandro (Alex) Rodriguez, a physics graduate student talks about his background in Cuba and the US and about his love of physics in this YouTube video (Produced by AZIZA Productions, Inc.).

October 3, 2011

Political Science student Greg Distelhorst’s research in China

Greg Distelhorst is a PhD candidate researching state-society relations in non-democracies with a focus on contemporary China. His dissertation addresses the quality and determinants of government responsiveness through experimental, econometric, and qualitative study of China’s government transparency reform. He has also conducted field research on non-governmental labor regulation in global supply chains.

October 3, 2011

Join the MIT Energy Club Mentorship Program

The MIT Energy Club Mentorship Program provides an opportunity for MIT Alumni in the energy industry to mentor current students who are interested in pursuing careers in this exciting and rapidly expanding field. Alumni from all sectors and job types are encouraged to volunteer to be an Energy Alumni Mentor. Recent mentors have been technologists, entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, policy-makers and executives in the energy industry.

October 3, 2011

HST student Harry Benjamin Larman wins Weintraub Award

HST/DMSE graduate student Harry Benjamin Larman in the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) doctoral program was among 12 students to win the 2011 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award sponsored by the Basic Sciences Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recognizes outstanding achievement during graduate studies in the biological sciences. Mr. Larman develops new molecular screening technologies that help us better understand autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. He currently works under the supervision of Stephen J. Elledge, the Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

October 3, 2011

MIT to attend professional development forum

Jessica Landry, Coordinator of ODGE Educational Initiatives and SHASS graduate student Ellan Spero, Vice President of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) will attend a forum entitled, “Teaching, Learning, and Research: Preparation of the Nation’s Future Faculty” October 10th and 11th, 2011 sponsored by the Center for the Integration of Research Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). The forum will explore the current landscape of professional development efforts to prepare future (STEM) science, technology, engineering and mathematics faculty.

October 2, 2011

Two EECS graduate students awarded NVDIA Fellowships

Two EECS doctoral students Sertac Karaman and Michael Rubinstein were awarded the 2011 NVDIA Graduate Fellowship. Mr. Karaman works under the supervision of Prof. Emilio Frazzoli of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and his recently was recently highlighted in the MIT News Article, “Smarter Robot Arms.” Michael Rubinstein works in computer vision with Prof. William T. Freeman. His research interests are in the areas of image and video analysis, motion analysis and computational photography and video. He is interested in utilizing parallel computing for efficient large-scale inference on massive graphical models typical to video and high definition imagery.