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2015 News Releases



Student Videos Showcase the Opportunities and Impact of Course 1 Research

Written by:
Kelsey Damrad
Civil and Environmental Engineering

“What is ONE@MIT research, and its impact on society?” was the pivotal question posed to students and postdocs in the 2nd Annual Course 1 Video Competition.

After a three-month long call for submissions of 2-minute videos, Course 1 hosted a celebratory movie showcase on March 12, 2015 that attracted students, faculty and staff. Complete with movie popcorn and candy, the event featured the official screening of the 10 video entries – devised, produced and edited completely by the students and postdocs.

At the conclusion of the event, judges Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart, SHASS Dean Deborah Fitzgerald and CEE Graduate Student Justin Chen conferred privately and returned with their three winning picks.

Course 1 graduate students Tiziana Smith (right) and Anjuli Jain Figueroa (left)The first prize of $1,000 was awarded to a team of graduate students – Anjuli Jain Figueroa, Tiziana Smith, Reetik Kumar and Chi Feng – for their video on the connections between the water cycle and society’s pervasive use of the land. Their video, “Research for a Thirsty World”, specifically highlights efforts to devise sustainable methods of providing reliable hydropower in times of water flow uncertainty.

In second place for $500 was Course 1 undergraduate student Maria Cassidy’s video, which chronicles her experience studying the volcanic vog from Hawaii’s Mt. Kilauea during course 1.092, or TREX (Traveling Research Environmental Experiences). Entitled “Ohana Means Course 1,” Cassidy’s video portrays the highlights from her time in Hawaii developing portable SO2 sensors, measuring the sulfuric acid levels in both the air and the soil and presenting the team’s overall findings to the island locals.

“To me, Course 1 means teamwork, doing something meaningful and doing something tangible,” Cassidy says in her video. TREX in particular, she said, is the epitome of these characteristics.

The third prize of $250 was claimed by Jen Nguyen, Biology graduate student, for her submission entitled “What is ONE?” Nguyen’s video examines her overall definition of Course 1, stemming from her research in microbiology and under the mentorship of CEE Professor Roman Stocker.

“To me, ONE@MIT is a style of research, as well as an approach to science and global issues,” said Nguyen, in her video. “It is a dream come true to everyday explore the world in such a warm and diverse community.”

This year’s event also introduced a People’s Choice award of $100 – voted on by the audience with Hershey Kisses and ultimately awarded to third-place winner Nguyen.

“The student video competition is an excellent showcase of student talent, in addition to providing the MIT community with direct insight into the exciting research being done within the department,” said Professor Markus Buehler, CEE department head.

As per tradition, CEE staff also submitted a video in line with the theme. This year’s entry, “Course One: An Undergraduate Story,” is a compilation of the department’s 2015 Mini Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (Mini-UROP). The video highlights each group in the Mini-UROP, their specific research endeavors and their experiences in the brand-new program.

The Course 1 Video Competition was established in March 2014, inspired by a video competition from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). To view all 2015 video entries and winners, please visit CEE’s YouTube Channel.