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Graduate Student Life

Graduate student life in CEE is exciting, fun and dynamic. We work hard and play hard!

Our students are engaged in Institute clubs and department activities – some related to work and research in the department and some just for fun. Others engage in competitions – some with origins right here in Course 1.

We also rely on our students to be leaders and help guide departmental leadership on important decisions and initiatives.

Not already a part of the great Course 1 graduate student community?




GradCom strives to improve the graduate student experience in Civil and Environmental Engineering while contributing to the all-around development of the graduate community. GradCom is a dynamic and responsive committee that incorporates the evolving needs of the graduate community, and aims to prepare graduate students to prepare them for success post-graduation.

GradCom aims to achieve its broad vision by fostering initiatives that contribute to the overall development of individual graduate students and the community as a whole. In collaboration with the administration, faculty, and other graduate students, GradCom helps design, develop and implement various initiatives to promote the following objectives:

  • Educational Development
  • Professional Development
  • Teaching / Mentoring Opportunities
  • Community Outreach
  • Improving Graduate Life


GradCom consists of MEng, MST, SM and PhD graduate students and aims to achieve representation from Pierce Lab, Parsons Lab, the Transportation program, and other joint programs (such as WHOI, CSE and LGO).

GradCom welcomes applications year-round from members of the graduate community. If you are interested in joining, please do not hesitate to get in touch by contacting

Current Team  

Hayley is a 4th year PhD student in the Polz Lab who is interested in studying microbe-mineral interactions in the environment, and how these interactions influence biogeochemical cycling. Her research focuses on understanding how different iron oxide minerals influence microbial methane cycling. Hayley started graduate school at MIT in fall of 2015 after receiving a B.A. in Geochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015.

Janille is a PhD candidate in Esther & Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor Admir Masic’s Laboratory for Multiscale Characterization and Materials design. Her primary focus is on the multiscale chemomechanical characterization of ancient Roman cultural heritage structures. She worked with the GSC as Treasurer and Activities Chair in the past, and has a passion for event planning and encouraging social activities for graduate students.

Joseph is a 5th year Graduate Student in Professor Martin Polz’s lab. He is interested in understanding the extent of microbial diversity in the coastal oceans. As the founder of The Real Data Lab @ MIT, he is also interested in the use of best practices in data analysis and computing for research. The Real Data Lab @ MIT provides online documentation, in person workshops, and one-on-one meetings to help students and postdocs use best practices in their own data analysis and computing.

Katya is a graduate student in Professor Whittle’s Soil geotechnical group. Her research focuses on building a generalized model for ground displacement prediction due to tunneling, in Urban environment. Katya conducts research with the MBTA Red line and is involved in the Transit Lab group research. In her free time, she is passionate about outdoor activities and volunteering with guide dogs for the blind.

Lluis is a graduate student in ARCO Associate Professor Ruben Juanes’ Research Group, and is interested in integrating knowledge across several fields to address complex geological problems. On campus, he is also the GSC Representative for CEE and member of the Earth Resources Laboratory and MIT Energy Initiative. He is passionate about many sports, including sport climbing and skiing.

Rafa is a 4th year PhD candidate in Professor Einstein’s Rock Mechanics group. His research interests include energy geotechnics, experimental geomechanics, and fluid flow in fractured media. He is also part of the Spain@MIT Club where he serves as Treasurer. In Rafa’s free time, he is passionate about outdoor activities, including skiing and scuba diving.

Sidhant is a PhD student studying Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry with the Heald group at MIT. His research uses computational models and statistical techniques, in conjunction with satellite and aircraft measurements, to study the atmospheric fate and transport of various air pollutants. As a member of GradCom, Sidhant is interested in developing avenues for graduate students in the department to leverage their research towards impactful, real-world projects. He also helps lead the Course One mini-UROP program, a month-long class where graduate students supervise and mentor first year undergraduates as they work on a self-contained research project.

Youssef is a 2nd year dual Masters student in transportation and computer science. He is passionate about using mathematical modelling to improve transportation systems. Youssef also serves as the Transportation alumni coordinator, and the Transportation club’s media director.


Stay in the know! Join our Facebook Group, MIT CEE Grad Students, where we will follow up with announcements for events and updates! The group also serves as an informal chat room to get in touch with people with similar interests.

GradCom will appreciate your advice, comments and suggestions! If you think that any aspect of GradCom should be improved to better reflect the interests of graduate students across the department, please fill out our feedback form. 


The department supports several Institute club competitions that engage and connect with Course 1 students.

Water Prize

MIT’s Water Club hosts several water related events annually. As the department has several students active in this club – both in leadership roles and as members – we are proud to be one of the sponsors for the Water Innovation Prize.

MIT Energy Hackathon

In Spring 2015, three CEE graduate students came up with the concept of the Clean Earth Hack competition to take on environmental challenges from industry and academic partners. The second year of the competition brought a new host, MIT’s Energy Club, and a new name, MIT Energy Hackathon.

Video Competition

Based on the premise that students and postdocs must be able to clearly articulate their work, and the importance of their research in a short time frame the department runs an annual competition for videos that are two minutes or less.

Got an Idea for the next great CEE competition – let us know!

View the videos on Youtube.