Blogs: Teaching

Are qualifying exams a waste of time?

Often yes

AUG 2019
Nuclear Science and Engineering
How many times have you heard grad students express concern over qualifying exams or declare that they “survived” it? Qualifying exams (“quals”) can be a grueling process spanning anywhere between 1 to 2 years involving multiple examinations. The effectiveness of such exams depends on specific...

Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn

Embracing opportunities to teach at MIT

JUL 2019
Technology and Policy Program
I love helping people learn. I first got a taste of this at the military academy where I completed my undergraduate degree. I taught new cadets and new Airmen about marching and other aspects of being in the military. Later, I worked an obstacle course where I had to teach safety and proper...

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...

My Life as a GRT/Two Time Scootah Hockey World Champion

MARCH 2018
Physics
The 2017 Scootah Hockey World Championship was certainly a nail-biter. Each year, the tournament is hosted by MIT undergraduate dorm Simmons Hall. For the past two years, B-Towah (i.e. 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of B-Tower in Simmons) has scooted away with the trophy (check out the 2017 exciting...

Teaching as a Graduate Student

My experience as a TA and advice for future TA's

MARCH 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
When I signed up to be a teaching assistant for MIT’s performance engineering course (6.172) in Fall 2017, multiple people warned me about how much work it would be. Their advice made me nervous...

Mentee vs. Minion

Working with undergrads as a graduate student

September 2017
Biology
I know from personal experience how much an undergraduate research experience can shape your future.   At the end of my junior year in undergrad at Swarthmore College, I was struggling with the idea of what to do after college and how my major (physics, at the time) would help me achieve that....

Making Whoopie (Pies)

Baking as a stress relief from the rigor of MIT academics

SPRING 2017
Microbiology
When you think of things a graduate student might do to relieve stress, baking and assembling 90 whoopie pies probably doesn't make the cut. Here’s the scene: every surface of my apartment is covered in misshapen disks of chocolate cake. I plop fluffy whipped cream onto the disks and sandwich them...

Glowing Green Goo

Why we think all radioactive materials glow

SPRING 2017
Nuclear Science and Engineering
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “radioactive”? For many people, this word conjures up images of ominously glowing material. In the opening credits to The Simpsons, a running gag is Homer's mishandling of a glowing green bar of radioactive material. As someone who works...

Graduate Women Explore a Path to Professorship

May 10, 2017
Media Arts and Sciences
Every November, I join a planning team of graduate students, postdocs, and the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education to offer a two-day workshop called Path of Professorship (PoP) for MIT’s graduate and postdoctoral women considering careers in academia... Read more at the Slice of MIT.  

Confronting AlphaGo

The value of human teachers in the age of machines

SPRING 2017
by Lee W.
Mechanical Engineering
In March 2016, world champion Go player Lee Sedol was defeated by the computer program AlphaGo in a five-game match. As someone who doesn’t play Go, follow professional Go, or study computer science, this shouldn't have been a big...