Blogs: Teaching

Crafting is engineering, music is math

What I learned from teaching design and engineering to elementary schoolers

Sept 2021
Mechanical Engineering
I am a serial maker: as a child, I dove deep into a new creative obsession each year. With each medium I explored, my passion for making grew, and projects flooded my house: a giant model of the Parthenon made from recyclables graced our front hallway, a crochet stuffed dragon perched in our...

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...

Between Three Worlds

There are more things in science and engineering, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your departmental curricula

Dec 2020
Computational Science and Engineering
“So are you an aerospace engineer or a mathematician?” asked my interviewer. I grinned. I was applying for a job in an applied math department, and with two degrees (bachelor’s and master’s) in aerospace engineering, I was expecting some form of this question. “I’m a computational engineer,” I...

How I passed my 1st-year classes

...by skipping them (please don’t tell anyone)

Aug 2020
Chemical Engineering
That’s right, I confess: I am a serial class skipper. It all started in high school, when I discovered it was possible to learn a lot more about a subject if I studied the material during class instead of paying attention to the teacher. Of course, I couldn’t physically skip classes back then...

Teaching a Lab Module…on Zoom

How the pandemic impacted my life as a TA this semester

MAY 2020
Chemistry
“The first thing we have to talk about is coronavirus.” That’s what the director of the undergraduate chemistry laboratory said when all the lab teaching assistants (TAs) gathered at the beginning of the semester. Back then, our only concern was helping students who were missing class due to self-...

When Your Hobby Is Your YouTube Channel

Balancing research, classes, and content creation

Oct 2019
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
It was two months before I was set to move to Boston for my PhD, and I had decided that there would never be a better time to create a science YouTube channel. While it might seem like a crazy idea to take on such a huge commitment while doing a PhD, I strongly believe that this unusual hobby has...

Making the most of Cambridge's amazing salsa scene

Plus a story of how I went from ballet to salsa

Oct 2019
Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology
Thankfully, life at MIT as a grad student is not ALL about research. For me, one of the greatest breaks from lab is dancing. Growing up, classical ballet was part of my daily routine. Classical ballet requires physical resilience, a focused mind, and musicality, but above all, it requires...

Diving into The Deep

How I became an MIT maker

SEP 2019
Mechanical Engineering
Ever since high school, I have been a maker to my core. I spent almost all my free time in an art room and my evenings were often spent wrenching on old motorcycles. One of the biggest threats to my academic success during undergrad was spending too much time on Instructables (an online source for...

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...