Blogs: Diversity


What a scientist should look like

JUN 2019
"Let us choose for ourselves our path in life, and let us try to strew that path with flowers." – Emilie du Chatelet, Physicist I love dresses and bows, face masks and makeup. When I get ready for a day in lab, I avoid it all...

First Impressions of the USA

Did he just call me Mrs. Lincoln?

APR 2019
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
I arrived in New Jersey to attend graduate school two years ago. I was mostly nervous and a little bit excited. This was the first time I had flown internationally and also the first time I had flown in an airplane! Upon arrival I was greeted by the air hostess who apologetically told us that all...

Bilingualism is a Feature, Not a Bug

Shifting perspective on my non-native English

APR 2019
Brain and Cognitive Sciences
If you are a non-native English speaker like me, have you ever felt that your English was not good enough? And worse, did you feel that your English would never be as good as a native speaker’s? I did.   My native language is Mandarin Chinese, and while I learned English growing up in China and...

Wasting My Degree

Why is having kids, moving out of the city, and following an unusual path a waste?

MAR 2019
Media Arts and Sciences
"She's worried you'll waste your degree." My friend (let's call her Anna) relays this message to me as coming from another friend, but I can tell from her tone of voice that she's clearly worrying about the same potential waste. That makes the question doubly irritating. As if pretending to be...

The Risks of Speaking Up

How to win a speech competition by going meta

OCT 2018
Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Ping – a new email in my inbox. It was a reminder that I had signed up for the “MIT Can Talk” Oratory Competition, taking place tomorrow. The email window stayed open for a while, waiting patiently while I was deciding whether I still wanted to participate. I had just submitted a paper for a...

Not a Contradiction

You can raise a family at MIT

OCT 2018
Biological Engineering
“You know,” my wife said, “For our kids, MIT won’t be this abstract place they hear about sometimes in the news. It’ll be home: where they learned to ride their bikes and to read. They’ll think of it as the place where they grew up.” My wife – who deserves more credit than I could ever give her –...

Policy Debate vs. Research

Applying high school debate skills to PhD research

JUNE 2018
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Unlike many of my fellow graduate students in computer science who have been doing programming and math competitions since high school (or potentially earlier), I spent six years in middle and high school in policy debate. This usually meant...

From Portugal to MIT

Learning to adapt to new time management challenges

MAY 2018
School of Engineering
I have been a visiting PhD student at MIT since February, coming from a PhD program called MIT Portugal. This is a collaboration between several Portuguese universities and MIT. Some of...

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...