Dear members of the MIT community,
I recently received a remarkable letter from a Texas high school student, and the minute I read it, I knew I had to share her story with you. At age 5, Joanna Feaster aspired to be an astronaut. However, as she grew up, her disadvantaged background gave her many reasons to question this dream. But through her own determination, this summer Joanna attended MITES, our six-week science and engineering program for rising high school seniors. “The opportunity to come to MIT,” she wrote, “gave me the hope to never stop dreaming of space.”
The promise of an MIT education is impossible to quantify. Letters from other MITES students enrolled with Joanna describe the same renewal of possibility. One young man writes: “I look back on my MIT experience whenever I want to give up or give in.” Gifted young people the world over look to MIT as an intellectual beacon. It is our responsibility to continue to prove them right.
Last month, I asked for your thoughts about the School of Engineering’s strengths and vision. In your engaging replies, I was delighted to see great consensus around our core values: a deep commitment to fundamental, rigorous inquiry and scholarship; a passion for useful knowledge; learning by doing; societal responsibility; applying research to make a better world.
You also urged that we find new ways to engage students to prepare them for leadership in society and in today’s industries. This issue explores that educational frontier:
- Enter a classroom with the first cohort of students embarked on a bold pilot project to rethink engineering education across disciplines.
- Hear from celebrated inventor and educator, Amy Smith, on equitable collaboration and unexpected lessons MIT students learn from working with communities in Africa.
- Get an inside look at our new MicroMasters, a professional and academic credential that is creating a ladder of opportunity for online learners around the world.
As together we strive to lead SoE in this work, I am eager to hear from you. This month’s question: What advice would you give current students about how to maximize their experience at MIT? Next month, I’ll share some of your replies.