Blogs: Beyond the Lab

Downsizing Our Footprint

Comprehending the impact of space amidst a “tiny movement”

FEB 2019
You may have seen the recent film Downsizing, reveling in the antics of Matt Damon as he navigates life as a shrunken 5-inch man.  Despite the humor of the film’s premise, I believe it reflects a growing movement of people cutting excess from their lives and relocating to tiny spaces. For many MIT...

Celebrating Science Outside the Lab

From teaching a class on anything to mentoring a summer student project

NOV 2018
Materials Science and Engineering
The cult of contagious scientific curiosity is something I’ve totally loved about MIT ever since I’ve stepped on campus as a starry-eyed prospective undergrad during Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). My CPW host welcomed me into her living space (a co-ed co-op living group called ‘pika’) and impromptu...

Finding Belonging through Community

Make the time to seek out familiar spaces

NOV 2018
Mechanical Engineering
There’s a common feeling that many incoming graduate students can attest to: I don’t belong here. MIT seems designed to keep us feeling this way, perhaps as motivation to work long hours, or perhaps to perpetuate its imposing reputation. It starts from the moment of acceptance. Elation and surprise...

Fighting Unfair Rules

Aligning MIT’s actions with its mission

NOV 2018
Chemical Engineering
When I got an offer to be a Graduate Resident Tutor (GRT),  a graduate student mentor who lives in an undergraduate dorm, I leapt across the hallway to exclaim to my friends that I didn’t just get a GRT position:  I got assigned to Random Hall - the quirkiest, nerdiest dorm filled with murals in...

Culture Goes Beyond Your Lab

Appreciating the quirks and stories that makes MIT special

NOV 2018
Aeronautics and Astronautics
When I started grad school, I met the other graduate students in the lab - most of whom, unlike me, had not gone to MIT for undergrad. We had conversations about hobbies, research, families, etc. Nothing about meeting them seemed any different to me than meeting students during undergrad, but I...

Fiddling through Grad School

My experiences learning the violin as a grad student

OCT 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
“Do you want to get lunch this weekend?” “Can we get dinner instead? I have a violin class in the afternoon.” You can do that as a grad student? Wow. As a first-year graduate student, I had not yet realized the degree of independence I now had in the choices I made in my life. Having gone to...

Not a Contradiction

You can raise a family at MIT

OCT 2018
Biological Engineering
“You know,” my wife said, “For our kids, MIT won’t be this abstract place they hear about sometimes in the news. It’ll be home: where they learned to ride their bikes and to read. They’ll think of it as the place where they grew up.” My wife – who deserves more credit than I could ever give her –...

The Wonderful World of Procrasti-Baking

How I manage grad school stress in the kitchen

OCT 2018
Biological Engineering
You have spent days – maybe even weeks – planning the perfect experiment. You have gathered all the materials you need, written down the protocol in your lab notebook, and made sure all the necessary equipment is available. Line by line, you perform the protocol with precision and manage to get...

The Yellow Zone

Five Ways to Break Out of the Department Bubble

AUG 2018
MIT Sloan MBA Program
In my very first lecture at MIT Sloan School of Management, a professor started class with a drawing of a huge three-ring target. The bullseye was colored green, the middle ring was yellow, and the outer ring was red. “This is your comfort zone,” she said, pointing to the green circle. “We want you...

Doggos or Manatees?

My journey through machine learning

JULY 2018
Computational and Systems Biology
This past fall, I challenged myself and hopped on the machine learning bandwagon. It’s been quite the ride. For those not familiar with the field, machine learning is essentially the art of making predictions with computers. Furthermore, it is a HOT field. Researchers are using machine learning for...