Spring 2014 Newsletter
In This Issue

SEED Academy instructor training addresses potential distractions for students

With MITES '03 as launching pad, aerospace engineer targets entrepreneurship

M.D. Candidate Dania Joseph shares her alternative path to a career in medicine in MOSTEC webinar

We're hiring summer staff!
Empower middle and high school students with the skills and confidence to become future scientists and engineers through an instructional staff position!

Applications for STEM due 3/28
Current 5th, 6th, 7th and 
8th graders who attend 
public school in Boston, Cambridge, or Lawrence 
are encouraged to apply 
for the 2014 STEM
Summer Institute.

OEOP advisory board member awarded fellowship
On March 19, 
MIT Associate Professor Kristala L. J. Prather was honored in a reception for the MacVicar Faculty Fellows, an award for exceptional undergraduate teachers, educational innovators and mentors. 

Give to OEOP
Without the generous support of friends of the office like you, we wouldn't be able to offer our programs free of charge to our incredible students. 


The Office of Engineering Outreach Programs is buzzing with activity as we continue running our academic-year programs for Boston-area youth -- SEED Academy for high school students and the Mentoring Program for middle school students -- and prepare for our summer programs.

Meanwhile, our alumni who are seniors in high school are learning of their admission to top universities across the country. We're proud of all of their accomplishments, and we're also happy to share that over 70 of them were admitted to MIT.

As programmatic activity continues to move forward, we're making some great progress behind the scenes. We were recently honored to receive a Google RISE Award to support our computer science courses, and we also received a generous grant from the 484 Phi Alpha Foundation to support our program evaluation and professional development efforts (see the story below on SEED instructor training for a peek into some of our work on that front).

We're also very excited about another source of incredible support -- you! The number of gifts under $10,000 from our friends and alumni at the end of 2013 increased by 136 percent over the same period in 2012. 

Thank you for your amazing continued support, both financial and otherwise!

Shawna Young
Executive Director
Office of Engineering Outreach Programs
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


SEED Academy instructor training fosters an inclusive learning community

SEED Instructor Joe Steinmeyer (right) employs a number of
techniques from the training in his electronics classroom.

Since the fall, Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery (SEED) Academy instructors and teaching assistants have participated in a series of workshops on how perceived stereotypes can become detrimental distractions for students in their classrooms. Bolstered by a generous grant from the 484 Phi Alpha Foundation, the training is part of OEOP's increased focus on teacher training and professional development.

Dr. Anique Olivier-Mason, an instructor in the Drennan Education Laboratory at MIT, leads the training, which focuses on a phenomenon called stereotype threat. Stereotype threat is the perceived risk of confirming a negative stereotype, which can stem from attributes such as race or gender, but can also be related to less obvious differences among individuals.

"Racism and sexism are major issues in the world, 
but they're not the only things that can affect learning. 
There's just a lot more of a student's personal 
experience that can get in the way."
- Dr. Anique Olivier-Mason

Theresa Johnson, MITES '01, points out a calibration chamber she used for an experiment as part of her work toward a Ph.D. from Stanford.
When she arrived on MIT's campus for the first time in June 2001, Theresa Johnson didn't know anything about engineering. Her high PSAT scores and academic drive had helped secure her a spot in that year's Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) program, but her primary reason for attending was to enjoy a summer outside of her hometown of St. Louis. Over a decade later, Theresa is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University, where she is combining aeronautics and astronautics with entrepreneurship as she works to inspire future scientists and engineers along the way.

Raised in a series of college towns -- first Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, then Austin, Texas, and finally St. Louis, Missouri -- Theresa experienced deep socio-economic divides. Theresa's parents did not have college degrees and were looked down upon as "townies" in communities dominated by large universities.

"Flying cars are possible. Getting us to Mars is possible. 
It's all going to happen. It just takes the will, intellect, 
and spunk of a few to light that fire."
- Theresa Johnson

Dania Joseph spoke with MOSTEC students about her winding journey from biology undergrad to
M.D. candidate.
Last fall, students in the MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC) participated in a virtual webinar with Dania Joseph, an M.D. candidate at Drexel University College of Medicine. Dania shared the story of her path from a high school student with her heart set on psychiatry to her current aspiration of working as a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology.

Dania earned her undergraduate degree in biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She arrived at Johns Hopkins with a dream of working as a psychiatrist. As she told MOSTEC students, after doing relatively well academically her freshman year without significantly altering her high school study habits, she struggled as a sophomore.

"If you are really considering going into medicine,
and if anyone tries to discourage you from doing so,
don't let them. 
It's not a matter of when you get to medical school. 
It's just a matter of how you get there."
- Dania Joseph