Blogs: Beyond the Lab

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...

Where Are All the Engineers in Congress

Lessons from talk radio

JULY 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
The United States has elected one of the most anti-science Congresses in the democratic world. Mainstream leaders unabashedly espouse scientifically untenable positions in areas such as climate change, vaccinations, and evolution. In a world that is becoming increasingly technologically driven, it...

Finding Work-Life Balance Through Sport

Extracurricular activities can help keep you sane

JUNE 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
After a long day of class or research in lab, there is no better feeling than walking across campus to soccer practice. The stress of the day melts away as I step onto the field. Finally, I am able to clear my head and to connect to the present. We pull on our cleats and start to warm-up, the...

Getting Your Hands Dirty

Bridging the gap between theory and practice

JUNE 2018
Urban Studies and Planning
How often have you stared at a blackboard wondering whether the formulae you’re seeing will ever be useful in a practical real-life setting? Ever wondered what’s the use of welding and workshop classes if you’re a computer science engineer? Well, to my astonishment, I found out that everything we...

Do What You’re (Not) Good At

Avoiding the tendency to over-specialize in science

JUNE 2018
“What do you want to work on?”   This is one of the most expected--and sometimes dreaded--questions that prospective graduate students encounter during the interview process. Because, as they say, “it’s a trap!”...

Why Would You Want to Do a PhD?

Student perspectives on the value of a graduate degree

MAY 2018
If you are reading this blog post, there is a good chance that you are thinking about a PhD, possibly at MIT. But MIT or not, almost every doctoral program would ask you why you are interested in their program and how it fits into your career goal. A typical answer would be: I am interested in your...

Learning to Engage in Deep Conversations

How a conflict management class awoke my interest in interfaith dialogue

MAY 2018
Biological Engineering
In the third year of my PhD, two things happened that dramatically changed the way I see the world: I took MIT's 40-hour conflict management course in my training to become an MIT REF, and Donald Trump was...


Where scientists talk religion

APRIL 2018
Every Monday night, I shuffle down Mass Ave, past the towering columns of MIT’s entrance to a small unassuming building almost directly across the street. Inside I meet with a group of about ten students. We continue our discussion of something that can make people uncomfortable, something that isn...

Time Travel

The imperceptible passing of seasons in graduate school

APRIL 2018
The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once. -Albert Einstein Time passes strangely in graduate school. Many days I enter a flow state where I’m completely absorbed in my task. First I am setting up an experiment or a stack of papers to read. Light, streaming in from...