Monthly Archives: January 2012

January 31, 2012


Minnihan gains insight into nature’s complexities

Scientists at MIT have demonstrated the use of a new technology to study the mechanism of an important chemical phenomenon called proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET). This advance, detailed in a paper published in September 2011 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, brings us a step closer to understanding a mysterious process at the heart of all life.

The research team, which included graduate student Ellen Minnihan and Professor JoAnne Stubbe of MIT’s Chemistry Department, focused on ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), an enzyme found in all living organisms. Read more

January 24, 2012

Richard Tapia

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration: “Expanding the Possible”

On February 9, 2012, MIT held the 38th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in Morss Hall, Walker Memorial. The program featured a delightful video of highlights from past breakfasts, and included remarks by President Hockfield, a graduate and undergraduate student, and the acknowledgement of MLK Leadership Awards. The keynote speaker was Richard Tapia, a mathematician in Rice University’s Computational and Applied Mathematics Department. He is the 2011 awardee of the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers, and holds the rank of University Professor, the university’s highest academic title awarded to only six individuals in the university’s history. Among his many other honors is election to the National Academy of Engineering, the first Hispanic to receive this honor, and honorary doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University, Colorado School of Mines, and Claremont Graduate University.  Because of his leadership Rice University is recognized as a national leader in the preparation of women and underrepresented minority doctoral degree recipients in science, engineering, and mathematics. Read the MIT News story and slideshow.

January 23, 2012

Intelligence Forum participants

Adeyemo, Cranford, Spero and Wongviriyawong Share Intelligence

On January 12 and 13, 2012, the MIT Office of Resource Development and the MIT Alumni Association held an Institutional Intelligence Forum to create a foundation of knowledge for their vital work to encourage philanthropic support for the MIT community, including graduate students. The plenary session “The MIT Graduate Student Experience” featured graduate students Adekunle M. Adeyemo (Chemical Engineering, from Nigeria), Steve Cranford (Civil and Environmental Engineering, from Canada), Ellan Spero (Science, Technology, and Society, GSC Vice President, from US), and Chanikarn “Mint” Wongviriyawong (Mechanical Engineering, from Thailand). The students discussed where they were (country, university, field of study etc.) when they first found out they were accepted to MIT, and why they choose to come; the differences and similarities of their undergraduate experience vs. their MIT experience; some of the highlights of their time at MIT; what they have learned the most so far from being at MIT; their greatest accomplishments so far; their post-gradsuation plans; and their interactions with alumni. They provided wonderful insight into the graduate experience, and beautifully articulated the value of their graduate education. The session was moderated by Dean for Graduate Education Christine Ortiz. Read more

January 23, 2012

MC-squared logo

MC^2: Standing Out and Fitting in on February 24 & 25

The mission of the Multicultural Conference (MC2) is to bring students together across race, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, socioeconomic status, ability, sexual orientation, and other aspects of cultural identity. This year’s theme is “Standing Out & Fitting In: Navigating MIT’s Cultural Landscape“.  The event is free and open to all MIT students. MC^2 will be held Friday, February 24 through Saturday, February 25, 2012 with students spending the night at the luxurious MIT Endicott House.The conference offers a provocative day of workshops, speakers, community building, action, and reflection centered on issues of culture, identity, and social justice at MIT and beyond.

Participants will engage in an honest, open, and interactive dialogue about the cultural climate at MIT, learn from people’s experiences, and develop plans to cultivate a campus environment that promotes equality, not simply tolerance. As MIT’s mission statement clearly promotes a diverse campus community, it is crucial students to discuss the role of diversity and inclusion in education and campus life. Get more information and register online.

January 19, 2012


Grads eat, too: Enroll in Spring 2012 meal program

MIT Dining has partnered with the award-winning food service company, Bon Appétit, to offer you a choice of all-you-care-to-eat meal plan options for the spring 2012 semester.  MIT’s Meal Plan Program allows you to enjoy a variety of different cuisines from around the world that are prepared by experienced Bon Appétit chefs who use only the freshest ingredients. Why should you enroll in MIT’s meal program?

  • Enjoy flavorful, nutritious entrees that are prepared right in front of you by experienced Bon Appétit chefs
  • It is a great way to spend time with friends and classmates.
  • No grocery shopping, no dishes to clean and you won’t have to remember to pack a lunch!
  • It’s quick and easy to use—all you need is your student ID and an appetite.
  • It is a great value! Save time, money and avoid stress!

NOTE: All students who were enrolled in a fall 2011 meal plan will automatically be enrolled in the same meal plan for the spring 2012 semester. Students who are eligible to make changes to their plan may do so during the Change Period (January 30-February 11, 2012). Photo by Kjell Eson.

January 18, 2012


Institute Diversity Summit January 27

On Friday, January 27th, the Committee on Race and DIversity and the Council on Staff Diversity and Inclusion are co-sponsoring the Institute Diversity Summit 2012. This will be a unique opportunity for you to join fellow students, faculty, and staff as we share experiences, perspectives and ideas on diversity and excellence at MIT.

Make sure to attend to add your voice, gain insight on topics such as implicit bias and the impostor syndrome, and hear the varied viewpoints of your peers, your professors, and the diverse people who work at MIT. You can register online through Friday, January 20th, or you can register at the event on January 27th. Registration and details are on the Institute Diversity Summit 2012 website. Read more

January 17, 2012


Brush up your scientific writing and presentations January 23-27!

The Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL), the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education (ODGE), and the Sloan School are sponsoring a series of talks on scientific writing, presenting, and graphic representation by Dr. Jean-lucDoumont the week of January 23rd. Jean-luc, who has a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford, is a fantastic speaker on these topics and is back at MIT this year by popular demand. These workshops shouldn’t be missed!

“Making the Most of Your Presentation,” Monday, Jan. 23, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 32-123

“Structuring Your Scientific Paper,” Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 32-123

“Roadsigns:  Finding Your Way in the Visual World,” Friday, Jan. 27, noon-2:00 p.m., 32-141

January 16, 2012


Four MIT graduate students short essays published in Science

Four MIT graduate students short essays were selected for publication in the January 6, 2012 issue of the journal Science under “NextGEN Voices,” a new feature that calls upon young scientists to speak up. The current issue asked the question, “How will the practice of science change in your lifetime?” and “What will improve and what new challenges will emerge?” The MIT students whose essays were selected include: Dianne Kamfonik (Civil and Environmental Engineering): Published in the journal as one of the top 13; Andrew David Warren (Health Sciences and Technology): published online as one of the top 50, Vyas Ramanan (Health Sciences and Technology) published online as one of the top 50, and Yiftach Nagar (Sloan): published online as one of the top 50. Please see: Science 6 January 2012: vol. 335 no. 6064 pp. 36-38 DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6064.36.

The second  NextGen survey is now open on the question “What is your definition of a successful scientist? How has this definition changed between your mentor’s generation and your own?” Submit your own response. The submission deadline is 17 February.

January 11, 2012


Summer Internship Opportunities at NSF: Deadline February 10

The Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network is offering a ten-week science policy-focused internship in Washington, DC for students who are interested in broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), or careers in science policy or science education. The program will take place May 29 –August 3, 2012. The application deadline is Friday, February 10, 2012. On-line copies of the application are available for download.

Benefits include:

  • Mentorship by an NSF program officer involved in implementing science policy and in managing/directing national programs focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics Read more

January 6, 2012


MIT-China Scholarship Council (CSC) Fellowship: Applications due March 20

The MIT-China Scholarship Council (CSC) Graduate Fellowship program is accepting applications for academic year 2012-2013 fellowship support. Applications to participate in the MIT-CSC Fellowship Program should be submitted by candidates directly to the CSC. (Applicants to MIT may also voluntary indicate this fellowship on the MIT application as a potential source of graduate funding; however, they must also submit directly to the CSC.)

Eligibility: Incoming1st year graduate students accepted to an MIT graduate program to pursue a terminal master’s degree or doctoral degree and who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China. There are no disciplinary restrictions. Read more

January 6, 2012

Valerie Young

How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You ARE

Do you secretly worry others will find out you are not as intelligent and competent as they seem to think you are? Do you often dismiss praise for your accomplishments? Are you crushed by even constructive criticism, taking as evidence of your ineptness? Does the thought of not knowing what you are doing strike fear in your heart? If so, join the club. The Imposter Syndrome is often found among high achievers. Learn to recognize the individual and organizational cost of this phenomenon in the event The Impostor Syndrome: How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are. Discover how to stop the perfectionism and procrastination that can undermine your success. Presented by Valerie Young on January 17, 1:30-3pm, in MIT Room 34-101.

January 4, 2012


Making the Most Out of Your Research Assistantship

Check out The Chronicle of Higher Education for a recent article on maximizing time with your advisor. Professor Marybeth Gasman and graduate student Thai-Huy Nguyen from the University of Pennsylvania share seven tips on organization, communication, setting expectations, and asking for help. Read the article here.

January 3, 2012

GSLG project

Submit a proposal to improve student life: Deadline January 13

The Graduate Student Life Grants program is a request-for-proposal process inviting graduate students, spouses, faculty, or staff to submit creative, community building ideas for possible funding. We encourage you to apply for funds – especially in collaboration with other students or student groups. Proposals may address a specific constituency such as families; they may cross departments or focus within a discipline; they may target several residence halls, or a variety of student groups. Their purpose should be to explore the role and relevance of community in creating a more balanced and fulfilling graduate experience.

Previous successful grants include Weekly Wednesdays at the Muddy Charles, Greek Cooking Class, Science Policy Bootcamp, the FamilyNet website and “An Evening with Tom Chapin.” The application deadline is January 13, 2012, and funds will not be released before March 1, 2012. Contact us with any questions:

January 1, 2012

Timothy Cooke

Timothy G. Cooke receives Marvin E. Goody Award

Congratulations to Timothy G. Cooke, Master of Science in Architecture Studies degree candidate, June 2012, for his thesis proposal, “Research in Lightweight Concrete: An Investigation into the Production of Variable Density Materials,” who received The Marvin E. Goody Award ($5,000.00). The Goody Award is given each term to a student in any department at MIT who will be expected to complete his or her SM Thesis or equivalent (i.e., MArch, SMArchS, SMBT, MCP, SM, MEng) at the end of the following term. The aims of the award are to extend the horizons of existing building techniques and use of materials, to encourage links between the academic world and the building industry, and to increase appreciation of the bond between good design and good building.