Blogs: Beyond the Lab

How leaving MIT convinced me to stay

Navigating academia and industry as a grad student

Aug 2021
Architecture
Industry or academia? It’s a question at the forefront of many MIT grad students’ minds. I first found myself at this crossroads at the end of my undergraduate career, unsure whether I wanted to follow the path of a practicing engineer or that of an academic researcher. Being indecisive, I reached...

small silver slivers

finding the bright spots in a dark time

Aug 2021
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
It was dark. Like the smallest sliver of a crescent moon, my roommate’s face was barely illuminated by the flickering glow of the twenty-six candles before her. It was just enough to see her manage a smile, lean forward, and, in a plume of smoke, send us into darkness again. It wasn’t the birthday...

The Perfect Recipe Doesn’t Exist

Making connections between baking and experimental materials science

July 2021
Materials Science and Engineering
In March 2020, a breadmaking epidemic struck the world. Legions of Youtube gurus, bloggers, and social media users began posting their recipes and adventures in breadmaking, especially sourdough, the type of bread which uses a live starter culture....

Miss to Mrs. to Dr.

How to plan a wedding in grad school

July 2021
Nuclear Science and Engineering
Congratulations! You’re engaged! Unfortunately, you’re a graduate student. People get married in all kinds of circumstances, but the graduate experience is unique, and you probably find yourself strapped for cash, time, and energy. I’m here to show you that it is possible to have a beautiful...

All the good ideas are gone!

But all the good work is left to do.

June 2021
Biological Engineering
The MIT Biological Engineering (BE) interview weekend began with an introduction by the department's chair. She gave a very motivating speech that ended with “this is the best time to become a bioengineer: find a problem and run with it.” I felt very motivated by the department chair’s speech and...

Routine in Chaos

Discovering opportunity to hack your own personal productivity habits

April 2021
Mechanical Engineering
About a month into my first semester at MIT, I found myself sitting on my couch at 4pm, still in my pajamas I’d been wearing all day, working on a math Problem Set (PSET), with a bag of pretzels as my only meal of the day beside me when I thought:  What the heck am I doing? Who have I become?? For...

PhD Parenting in a Pandemic

Challenges and lessons learned from a tumultuous time in my life

April 2021
Civil and Environmental Engineering
When I first heard about SARS-CoV-2, my wife and I had just flown back to the U.S. from visiting her family in China. She was already in her second trimester of pregnancy and was concerned that the virus might spread to North America. At the time, I didn’t think too much of it. Evidently, her “...

Experimenting with love

Attempting to date as a PhD student in Biology

April 2021
Biology
As far as bad dates went, this one was catastrophic. My date (we’ll call him “Brad”) was drunk, not just on his own ego, but also quite literally drunk. Though really, this was not my fault, as he had decided to come that way. As the waitress cleared our table, he swiveled around to look at me,...

Pandemic pupils

How Covid-19 has transformed my perspective on outreach and education

April 2021
MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography / Applied Ocean Science and Engineering
Going to graduate school anywhere can be a form of culture shock. Often, the transition is from cosmopolitan to erudite and razor-focused, or team-based and casual to more isolated. But moving to do graduate school in a northeastern city in the U.S. from somewhere more rural, such as southwestern...

Hunting for What We Lost

How the MIT Mystery Hunt Reminded Me Of How Bleak Pandemic Life Is

April 2021
Aeronautics and Astronautics
It is a unique feeling to be having such a fantastic time that you make yourself hopelessly, achingly sad.  During the Independent Activities Period (IAP) this past January, the annual MIT Mystery Hunt took place, and I competed with my undergraduate team, NES*. For those that don’t know, the MIT...