Monthly Archives: November 2020

November 23, 2020

Resolute anchors amid adversity

Graduate students credit MIT associate professors Anna Mikusheva and Kerri Cahoy for their uplifting and fierce support, which buttresses them during the trials of the PhD process. The faculty members have been honored as “Committed to Caring” (C2C) for their compassion and staunch advocacy for graduate advisees. They steadfastly guide students in developing research capabilities and launching careers. Read more on MIT News.

November 10, 2020

2020 Presidential Fellows virtual reception

Since 1999, MIT’s Presidential Fellowship has been one of the most prestigious awards incoming graduate students can receive. The pool of fellowships consist of more than thirty named awards supported by generous philanthropic donations. As a group, they constitute an exclusive opportunity that is celebrated every fall with a semi-formal reception. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Graduate Education reformatted the traditional structure and setting of the reception into a virtual event, and it was sincerely enjoyed by participants despite the unique constraints.

Director of Graduate Fellowships Scott Tirrell provided the opening remarks, introducing Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz and Senior Associate Dean Blanche Staton, all of whom provided insight into how to best utilize MIT’s resources and get the best out of the graduate school experience. Students and administrators were then separated into meet-and-greet style breakout rooms, where broad-ranging topics included research, work experience, and favorite movies. More than 70% of the 90 attendees stayed for most or all of the event.

Exit survey respondents praised the breakout rooms as the star of the show, and 75% said they were interested in attending a similar event in the future. With the uncertainty around the shape of future fellowship receptions, this is very reassuring news. The information gathered will help the Office of Graduate Education improve and build upon previous programming to create events that not only meet expectations, but surpass them, even in a virtual environment.

November 5, 2020

First grants given to grad students with children

The new MIT Grant for Graduate Students with Children is a need-blind pilot program for the 2020-2021 academic year, and has just finished its first round of funding. The grant may be used to cover expenses such as child care, health care, and housing. While it does not cover the bulk of child care expenses, the grant is intended to help alleviate some of the financial hardship our student parents face while allowing them budgeting flexibility.

This fall, 72 grants were awarded to graduate students, which will total $172,000 in disbursements by the end of the year. Read more