Funded in 2009-10

In the ninth round of Graduate Student Life Grants, Dean Steve Lerman funded 17 new proposals out of the total 25 submitted to the Office of Graduate Education. To date, since this program was introduced in 2002, the Dean’s selection panel has reviewed 248 proposals and funded 148 of those.


RFP5-22: Grad Nights at the MIT Museum

The MIT Museum partners with graduate student organizations to hold large-scale events that foster informal, yet focused, communication and connections around the work of MIT graduate students. Themes for these events may include energy, international development, and sustainability.

For more information, contact Jon Bijur at jbijur [at] mit [dot] edu.


RFP8-6: Greek Cooking Class

Cooking can be a great ice breaker. In this grant, graduate students learn how to cook traditional Greek fare and then, of course, get to eat it!

For more information, contact: Antonios Vytiniotis, avytin [at] mit [dot] edu.


RFP8-11: HST Women’s Group: Alumnae Connections

Building on their past successes, the HST Women’s Group provides women in HST opportunities for closer contact with the department’s alumnae through events such as a networking night and an alumnae panel discussion.

For more information, contact: Melis Anahtar, mna [at] mit [dot] edu.


RFP8-13: iAmbassador

Over a series of lunch presentations, students present a broad overview of their home countries, including personal observations but avoiding political bias. Following the presentation, the participants engage in a Q&A session to share ideas about how issues may be addressed. .

For more information, contact: Rahul Kar, rahulkar [at] mit [dot] edu.


RFP8-19: Systems and Computational Approaches to Life Sciences (SCALeS) Seminar

This series of student-run seminars creates an interdepartmental colloquium that brings together graduate students interested in systems biology. It affords students an opportunity for scientific discussion as well as a place to feel comfortable candidly expressing their opinions and experiences.

For more information, contact Christoph Engert at engert [at] mit [dot] edu.


RFP8-22: TPP Community-Building Weekend

This grant provides a unique occasion for first- and second-year TPP students to forge new relationships and deepen existing ones through a number of team-building events, group competitions, small group discussions, and informal free time. Contacts: Samantha O’Keefe,, and Philip Wolfe,

For more information, contact Abe Grindle at grindle [at] mit [dot] edu.


RFP9-1: Ashdown House Alumni Banquet

Alumni of the old and new Ashdown graduate residences are invited to join current Ashdown community members for dinner, tours of the building, and a concert performed by residents.

For more information, contact: Brandon Luders,


RFP9-2: BCS Grad Nights

In this series of social events for graduate students in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, attendees mingle in a relaxed atmosphere with dinner. Each event is hosted by a different cohort of the BCS student body.

For more information, contact: Laura Lewis,


RFP9-4: Celebration for Sloan Graduating Women

This high-profile, large-scale event invites female students from all Sloan programs to a brunch and speech by a prominent woman.

For more information, contact: Veena Jayadeva,


RFP9-5: Community Wine Tasting

A graduate student’s palate is a great introduction to community building. In this grant, students are led by an expert through a tasting of a wide variety of wines in a social setting.

For more information, contact: Zenzile Brooks,


RFP9-7: A Day with Tom Chapin

Grammy Award-winning performer Tom Chapin and his band perform some of their hits for an audience of graduate students and their families, with reception to follow.

For more information, contact: Nancy and Larry Bush,


RFP9-8: E14 Graduate Student-Run Lecture Series

This grant invites the diverse groups housed in the Media Lab to attend a series of monthly panel talks over lunch. Students nearing graduation are invited to discuss their ongoing work, moderated by an organizer.

For more information, contact: Micah Eckhardt,


RFP9-10: Family Tea Time

Open to all graduate students and their families, Family Tea Time provides a monthly opportunity for interaction and support for families in a relaxed setting, complete with snacks and refreshments.

For more information, contact: Chen-Hsiang, Yu,


RFP9-11: Finding Balance: Pursuing Your Passion(s) After MIT

This grant provides a different perspective on work-life balance for graduate students considering career opportunities. In this two-hour lunchtime event, graduate students hear from an MIT alumna about her work at GE and as a board member of the organization yogaHope.

For more information, contact: Susanne Seitinger,


RFP9-12: GAME Interdepartmental Coffee Hour

The Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers partners with graduate students from other departments to hold monthly coffee hours and encourage interdepartmental socializing.

For more information, contact: Kevin Cedrone,


RFP9-13: Global Health @ MIT: Lecture Series

This grant funds networking and discussion opportunities following the class HST.590, a weekly seminar in HST focusing on issues of global health.

For more information, contact: Michael Goldberg,


RFP9-14: Graduate Women at MIT Flagship Events

This grant funds three events organized by the Graduate Women at MIT group. A mentoring program, a women’s conference, and a leadership conference will provide resources and connections for graduate women.

For more information, contact: Kay Furman,


RFP9-15: Innovation Club Mixer Series

Fostering relationships among students interested in innovation at MIT while maintaining a fun atmosphere, the Innovation Club holds regular social mixers with themes such as a ping pong tournament, a karaoke tournament, and an “Innovation Olympics.”

For more information, contact: Jane Shapiro,


RFP9-16: Interdepartmental Mixer

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning’s Student Council offers a mixer to attract students from various departments in a relaxed, social setting.

For more information, contact: Sara Zewde,


RFP9-20: MIT Lipdub! Project

Ever seen a lipdub video? (A “lipdub” is a music video in which people lip sync a famous song, recorded in a single take.) This grant pulls together motivated MIT undergraduate and graduate students to shoot a lipdub video at MIT, highlighting MIT’s character and building community in the process.

For more information, contact: Thomas Luypaert,


RFP9-22: MIT Entrepreneurship Review

Hundreds of students at MIT maintain regular or occasional blogs. This grant funds a mixer for bloggers to meet and share their perspectives on the state of entrepreneurship at MIT and how MIT can continue to be a leader in this area.

For more information, contact: Erdin Beshimov,


RFP9-24: The Op-Ed Project @ MIT

This initiative encourages more women to write and submit opinion pieces to news and academic outlets by providing a lunch seminar led by a host from the Op-Ed Project. Open to female graduate students, participants learn about the use of opinion pieces as tools and how to contribute to important public debates.

For more information, contact: Chizoba Nnaemeka,


RFP9-25: Sustainability@MIT

This grant provides for regular socials at venues on and off campus that bring together diverse graduate students with an interest in sustainability.

For more information, contact: Carrie Brown,