Professor John Ochsendorf selected as Director of the American Academy in Rome

February 14th, 20172017 News in Brief

Class of 1942 Professor of Architecture and CEE John Ochsendorf was selected to be the 23rd director of the American Academy in Rome, a nonprofit supporting arts and scholars. The appointment begins in July 2017, and Ochsendorf will return to MIT after a three-year appointment. More information on the appointment can be found here.

Class of 1942 Professor of Architecture and CEE John Ochsendorf was selected to be the 23rd director of the American Academy in Rome, a nonprofit supporting arts and scholars. The appointment begins in July 2017, and Ochsendorf will return to MIT after a three-year appointment. More information on the appointment can be found here.

+ More

Advice for #WomenInSTEM, from CEE Professors

February 10th, 2017Women In STEM

In MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering, 70% of civil and environmental engineering undergraduate students are female, but around the world the numbers of women pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are less than those of men. In response, the United Nations deemed February 11 International Day of Women and Girls in Science. According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, MIT School of Engineering ranks second among colleges with the largest portion of women receiving bachelor's in engineering. CEE also has nine female faculty members. Three of those professors share the best advice they received as women in STEM, and their advice for young girls interested in STEM. Advice for girls interested in STEM       Best advice ever received    

In MIT Civil and Environmental Engineering, 70% of civil and environmental engineering undergraduate students are female, but around the world the numbers of women pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are less than those of men. In response, the United Nations deemed February 11 International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, MIT School of Engineering ranks second among colleges with the largest portion of women receiving bachelor’s in engineering. CEE also has nine female faculty members. Three of those professors share the best advice they received as women in STEM, and their advice for young girls interested in STEM.

Advice for girls interested in STEM

 

 

 

Best advice ever received

 

 

+ More

Dara Entekhabi elected to the National Academy of Engineering

February 10th, 20172017 News in Brief

Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor of CEE and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Dara Entekhabi was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for his leadership in the hydrologic sciences. More information about NAE can be found here.

Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor of CEE and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Dara Entekhabi was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for his leadership in the hydrologic sciences. More information about NAE can be found here.

+ More

IAP 2017: Adventures of CEE Students

February 8th, 2017IAP 2017

What’s it like to be a student in Course 1 at MIT? Two CEE third years, Alexa Jaeger and Rachel Galowich, took over the MIT Students Instagram account from January 29 to February 4, the last week of the Independent Activities Period (IAP) to give a glimpse into a week in the life of a CEE student. Now, we’re giving a quick recap of their week. Alexa had just returned from Hawaii when she took over the account, and started off the week with a group picture from TREX (Traveling Research Environmental eXperiences, more info can be found here). On Tuesday, she stopped by the CEE Department Exploration (DEX) lunch to show freshmen what it’s like to be a student in CEE! Alexa even brought us along to Rugby practice, because she finds the time to manage a busy course load and be a member of the rugby team! It gets pretty chilly here in Cambridge, and there are lots of places to get some hot cocoa and coffee! One popular spot is L.A. Burdick. We even got a bit of snow, so Alexa shared a picture of the warm-weather clothes TREX students wore in Hawaii which officially made everyone who couldn’t participate in TREX jealous! Normally, an @MITStudents takeover is just one student, but Rachel helped with the takeover for the second half of the week! Rachel introduced herself by posting this picture from TREX last year. On #ThrowbackThursday, Alexa posted about [...]

What’s it like to be a student in Course 1 at MIT? Two CEE third years, Alexa Jaeger and Rachel Galowich, took over the MIT Students Instagram account from January 29 to February 4, the last week of the Independent Activities Period (IAP) to give a glimpse into a week in the life of a CEE student. Now, we’re giving a quick recap of their week.

Alexa had just returned from Hawaii when she took over the account, and started off the week with a group picture from TREX (Traveling Research Environmental eXperiences, more info can be found here).

On Tuesday, she stopped by the CEE Department Exploration (DEX) lunch to show freshmen what it’s like to be a student in CEE!

Course 1 DEX luncheon has the literal best cookies that I have ever had 🌎🚄🌉🌊🌧🌱 #cee_iap @mit_cee

A photo posted by MIT Student Life (@mitstudents) on

Alexa even brought us along to Rugby practice, because she finds the time to manage a busy course load and be a member of the rugby team!

It gets pretty chilly here in Cambridge, and there are lots of places to get some hot cocoa and coffee! One popular spot is L.A. Burdick.

Nothing like hot chocolate on a cold day #cee_iap

A photo posted by MIT Student Life (@mitstudents) on

We even got a bit of snow, so Alexa shared a picture of the warm-weather clothes TREX students wore in Hawaii which officially made everyone who couldn’t participate in TREX jealous!

It is snowing here in Boston, but just a few days ago we were in sunny Hawai'i...weird #cee_iap #trex2017 @mit_cee

A photo posted by MIT Student Life (@mitstudents) on

Normally, an @MITStudents takeover is just one student, but Rachel helped with the takeover for the second half of the week! Rachel introduced herself by posting this picture from TREX last year.

Hi, everyone! I wanted to formally introduce myself. I'm Rachel, a Course 1 junior (on the civil engineering side of the department) also minoring in Course 11 (urban studies and planning). I'm a sister in Alpha Chi Omega (@axo_mit), co-president of Engineers Without Borders, VP of Fundraising for Colleges Against Cancer, a project team member in Design for America, and the secretary of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Students Association. In my free time, I enjoy exploring Boston, hanging out with my pals in Burton Conner, baking, and watching too much Netflix. In honor of #tbt, Alexa and I are going to be throwing it back to our past IAP adventures. I went on the TREX trip last year (see coconut pic as evidence), and am currently recovering from jet lag after a 3.5 week trip to Uganda with MIT D-Lab. Can't wait to share with all of you #cee_iap #trexmit2016 @mit_cee - Rachel G. '18

A photo posted by MIT Student Life (@mitstudents) on

On #ThrowbackThursday, Alexa posted about the research they conducted in Hawaii with their UAV.

Every year, the TREX students present their research to MIT alumni, so they took a selfie. Alexa posted it for another Throwback Thursday.

Rachel also posted a throwback picture to her IAP adventure. She traveled to Uganda through MIT D-Lab.

On Friday, Rachel came to the mini-UROP final presentations. “mini-UROP” program is unique to CEE and offers freshmen the opportunity to work in CEE labs over IAP.

Rachel also had a final presentation for her D-LAB IAP on Friday, winding down her takeover week.

Still curious about life as a Course 1 student after the CEE Instagram Takeover? Stop by 1-290 and meet us! Our Course 1 mascot Gunner can’t wait to meet you!

Gunner

Click here for more information about CEE’s undergraduate programs.

+ More

IAP 2017: Four Weeks for America

February 3rd, 2017IAP 2017

By David Wu '19 My sister always jokes that I peaked in high school, so I guess I’m spending my IAP trying to re-live the glory days. This IAP, I have been working as an assistant to a Teach For America (TFA) teacher named Seamus at KIPP Gaston Pride (GP) High School in Gaston, North Carolina. Seamus is a second-year Teach For America participant who graduated from Cornell with a degree in Economics. He currently teaches Pre-Calculus to 11th and 12th graders at KIPP GP. Gaston is part of Northampton County, one of the poorest counties in North Carolina. There is also a lack of STEM exposure and skills provided to the students. Through “Four Weeks for America,” a joint program between the MIT PKG Center and Teach For America, I and other MIT students have tried to present STEM areas and possible careers to Gaston students, as well as develop math and problem-solving skills during this four week period. KIPP GP has a student body of about 350, made up 83% black, 10% white, and 7% Latino/Other. KIPP GP perform in the 54th and 51st percentiles in the state for reading and math, respectively. This maybe a result of the longer school day that goes from 8 am - 5 pm Monday through Thursday and 8am - 2pm on Fridays. While these students outperform their peers from the Halifax County high schools, I believe there is still a large gap between their skill level and what is required for [...]

By David Wu ’19

My sister always jokes that I peaked in high school, so I guess I’m spending my IAP trying to re-live the glory days. This IAP, I have been working as an assistant to a Teach For America (TFA) teacher named Seamus at KIPP Gaston Pride (GP) High School in Gaston, North Carolina. Seamus is a second-year Teach For America participant who graduated from Cornell with a degree in Economics. He currently teaches Pre-Calculus to 11th and 12th graders at KIPP GP.

Gaston is part of Northampton County, one of the poorest counties in North Carolina. There is also a lack of STEM exposure and skills provided to the students. Through “Four Weeks for America,” a joint program between the MIT PKG Center and Teach For America, I and other MIT students have tried to present STEM areas and possible careers to Gaston students, as well as develop math and problem-solving skills during this four week period.

KIPP GP has a student body of about 350, made up 83% black, 10% white, and 7% Latino/Other. KIPP GP perform in the 54th and 51st percentiles in the state for reading and math, respectively. This maybe a result of the longer school day that goes from 8 am – 5 pm Monday through Thursday and 8am – 2pm on Fridays. While these students outperform their peers from the Halifax County high schools, I believe there is still a large gap between their skill level and what is required for mastery of a subject. It is my goal to find ways to help close this gap.

In the classroom, I assist students working on assignments. I meet regularly with students who need individual help during lunch, study hall, and after school. This has been a great time to not only get to know the students personally, but also reinforce fundamental concepts and identify holes in their knowledge.

teaching_test2

Two students that I have spent a considerable amount of time with, Mike and Tyrell, are big basketball and football fans, so we have been able to bond over our shared interests. Mike is a very hardworking senior, but lacks the solid foundation of basic algebra and arithmetic skills. While he has a grasp on the topics covered in class, often times his lack of algebra proficiency causes confusion. In order to best help him, I create flow charts to visualize the type of problem solving thinking that will help him think clearly. With his work ethic, I am sure that Mike will always be able to improve his skills.

Conversely, Tyrell is a gifted athlete and student who is interested in sports medicine. However, Tyrell is not challenged by his classes and doesn’t want to do his work. Therefore, usually he either skips class or distracts other students in class. My goal with Tyrell is to find ways to intellectually stimulate him with videos combining physics and math with sports in order for him to change his perception of these subjects. Ultimately, I would like him to realize that the learning in the classroom can help him better understand the world around him and solve problems that do not have a simple answer.

Another student who I have tried to expose to the breadth of possibilities in the STEM fields is a quiet kid named David. He is a gifted student who is interested in computer science and is planning on applying to MIT. I have showed him some the cool things I have been able to do in just 1.5 semesters at MIT such as doing fieldwork at ancient sites in Italy (1.S993) and designing and 3D printing a parameterized model of a beaver dam (1.101) and he has reacted very positively. He took AP Computer Science last year, but unfortunately the teacher left and the school no longer offers the course. As a result of the low pay (NC ranks in the bottom 10 of average teacher pay) and taxing work, teacher retention and quality teacher retention is very low. Therefore, students like David that would love exploring areas that spark their curiosity and challenge them are left in classes that are too easy for them and unable to reach their full potential.

As I have spent more time with the students, I have gotten to see their improvement even in just a handful of days. For example, the first time I worked with a girl named Kira on exponent concepts she would use phrases like “I quit!” and “I hate this” at the first sign of struggle. Struggle is guaranteed as an MIT student, but it is the process of working through this struggle that the best learning and confidence growth occurs.

With Kira, I try to ask her questions that force her to think about the problem in a different manner. I hope this sideways thinking will help her realize that her math knowledge is cumulative and interconnected rather than disjoint islands of formulas. After working with Kira for a few days, the most noticeable change in Kira is her attitude. It seems that she feels more comfortable struggling with a question before asking for help, and hopefully she can continue to develop her analytical skills.

On a final note of reflection after these two weeks, I think about what it takes to be a motivator and a champion for these underserved students. My work so far has definitely not been easy, but I didn’t expect it to be. I appreciate the amount of effort that teachers put in every year day in and day out to create engaging material, design curriculum, speed up kids who are behind, and also inspire their high achieving students.

Teachers are some of the most underappreciated members of our society and their work usually goes unnoticed by everyone except their students. In fact, on the day prior to the quarter final exam Seamus and I worked with students until after 9pm providing extra help and allowing students to redo assignments that they score poorly on. After spending over 12 hours at school, Seamus then baked cookies for all five of his classes until 2am.

I’d like to acknowledge and applaud the hard work and dedication from Seamus and teachers all around the country that go the extra mile every day to develop their students’ skills. This is what helps students build character, confidence, and skills. Better teachers mold better students.

+ More

Professor Xuanhe Zhao creates hydrogel robots

February 1st, 20172017 News in Brief

Associate Professor of CEE and Mechanical Engineering Xuanhe Zhao and Mechanical Engineering graduate student Hyunwoo Yuk have created gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The robots are almost invisible when in water, and can have many potential uses. For more on the research, click here.

Associate Professor of CEE and Mechanical Engineering Xuanhe Zhao and Mechanical Engineering graduate student Hyunwoo Yuk have created gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The robots are almost invisible when in water, and can have many potential uses. For more on the research, click here.

+ More