Blogs: Material Science and Engineering

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...

Tuning out the Noise

My advice on learning to use challenging lab equipment

NOV 2018
Materials Science and Engineering
Have you ever looked at an instrument that a senior labmate is using - one of those behemoth installations that has a million glowing buttons and wires sticking out everywhere - and think to yourself, "There's no way I'll EVER learn how to use that"? That was what I thought when I saw a...

A Good Place to Nap

Finding the best place to sleep on-campus after a sleepless night

NOV 2018
Materials Science and Engineering
I was in the middle of a formal dinner with the Under Secretary of the US Department of Energy, when my cell phone signaled the Outlook notification – Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 9:30 PM [70 AMHERST] FACILITIES EMERGENCY - BUILDING CLOSING The severity of the situation did not strike me at first...

Starting Over Summer

Settling down before the semester starts

OCT 2018
Materials Science and Engineering
Out of school for a year, I was not sure if I could fit in classes, choosing a lab, doing research, and settling down in a new country all at once when I started graduate school in the fall. So, when the option on the acceptance letter said that I could join over the summer instead, I was more than...

Every Scientist is a Sherlock Holmes

Why we do experiments, even if they don't work

FEBRUARY 2018
Materials Science and Engineering
This summer I voluntarily stayed up all night for about nine days to stare at some computer screens and push some buttons. Voluntarily, I became a true night dweller by waking up at 7pm and going to bed at 8am. I wasn’t practicing some weird voodoo sleeping schedule or avoiding the sunlight. I was...

Don't Panic

How to survive falling into a grad school hole

SPRING 2017
Materials Science and Engineering
The people that get into MIT and places like it are used to being the best of the best. The people who come here are used to success. In particular, they’re used to success being easy. The easy success you may have experienced in undergrad is not going to continue at MIT. (Okay, it might continue...

It's Not About the Weather

Don't choose a grad program for the location or climate

SPRING 2017
Materials Science and Engineering
I’m a first year graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering, or "Course 3" to anyone who’s familiar with MIT’s classification system for majors (more on this later). I’m on my way to a PhD (or as my good friend calls it – Permanent Head Damage, Piled Higher and Deeper, Pretty Huge...

Returning to MIT

Choosing to attend graduate school at my undergraduate institution

SPRING 2017
Materials Science and Engineering
I came back to MIT as a graduate student more in spite of my time as an undergraduate here than because of it. And I’m so glad that I did. Now, don’t get me wrong. My hesitation wasn’t because my undergraduate experience wasn’t amazing. It was. I loved my first time at MIT, and would definitely...

It's a Match!

The eerie similarities between online dating and finding an adviser

SPRING 2017
Materials Science and Engineering
One of the best feelings as a student is receiving that acceptance letter from a school or program you thought was nearly impossible to get into. However, for graduate school, getting in is only the first step. The next step is to find an advisor, which can be difficult. For programs that don’t...