Blogs: Chemical Engineering

Finding My Grad School Home

An experiment in communal living

MAY 2019
Chemical Engineering
When I arrived in the foreboding metropolis of Boston, I sought a group of friends that brings soup when someone is sick, welcomes each other into our homes even at the lowest of times, asks deep questions, and challenges each other to be the best we can be. I struggled adapting to this new place...

So... What Do You Two Even Talk About?

The wonderful aspects of being in a relationship with a non-scientist

APR 2019
Chemical Engineering
When a new acquaintance learns that I am a graduate student at MIT, their first question is often about whether or not my husband is also an MIT student or postdoc. They are usually surprised to hear that he is not an MIT researcher — and further amazed to learn that he is not a scientist, engineer...

You Got NSF, Now What?

How NSF can change grad school selection

APR 2019
Chemical Engineering
It's early April. You wake up and refresh the emails on your phone. There is an email from your professor congratulating you on getting the NSF, a colloquial expression for getting into the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. You...

Safety First!

When science comes before safety

APR 2019
Chemical Engineering
As an MIT grad student doing cutting-edge research, have you always keep safety as your first priority? I hope your answer to this question is, “yes”. But in reality, many people feel that paying attention to safety will reduce their productivity. All graduate students coming to MIT are undoubtedly...

Embrace rather than Escape

Culture shock in the States

MAR 2019
Chemical Engineering
There is a saying in Chinese: “It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books.” Embracing this old saying, I started my four-year undergrad journey in Minnesota after graduating from my high school in Beijing. I got this stamp on my passport when I first came to the...

Subtle Scandals

Everyday lies incentivized by funding sources

FEB 2019
Chemical Engineering
My first experience with academic misinformation occurred during my junior year of college. In my final project for my engineering ethics course, my group found that the EPA’s initial report on the impact of hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”) on drinking water lacked sufficient...

Moving to Boston with a Dog

What you need to know about pet ownership

NOV 2018
Chemical Engineering
When I was first considering accepting MIT’s offer of admission to a PhD program, one of my main concerns was finding housing for my family. I had heard that Boston’s housing situation was brutal, and to top it off, my then-fiancé and I were trying to bring two large dogs to the big city with us....

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...

Out and About at MIT

Coming to terms with my sexuality

Spring 2017
Chemical Engineering
In graduate school I explored and developed a new side of myself. And no, I’m not talking about academics or hobbies, this was far more personal. This was about coming to terms with being gay, finding a partner and telling my friends and family. I want to share this story and how the awesome people...

In the Art of the City

Boston as a source of culture and adventure

SPRING 2017
Chemical Engineering
I spent my childhood in Shanghai, the largest city in China. However, as a child, I never had the chance to explore this big city. After I graduated from high school and moved to Pasadena with my family for my undergraduate studies, I became accustomed to life in the suburbs, a place where people...