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Chris Peterson SM '13

Sep 15 2017

MIT (Turbo)Votes

Posted in: Miscellaneous

tl;dr: As of this fall, any member of the MIT community can use TurboVote to help them register to vote, be reminded about local elections, and even be mailed an absentee ballot to their dorm. TurboVote is a classic example of a well designed civic technology: solving a societal problem by making something that is difficult (and shouldn't be) easier by partnering with institutions to make it available to their community members.

Making this happen involved a lot of students, faculty, and staff working collaboratively, and thoughtfully, over a long period of time to make this happen. One of those people was/is Christina Couch, a recent alumna of the Graduate Program in Science Writing; another was Caroline Mak '18, who had previously worked on another voter registration app funded by the MIT Sandbox initiative. Because I was involved a bit at the beginning, and because I think a lot of our prospective students will be as excited as I am that this is a thing, I asked Christina to... read the post »

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Sep 1 2017

Supporting our DACA Students

Posted in: Miscellaneous

If you've been following the news, you may know that the Trump Administration is reportedly reconsidering Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that allows undocumented students meeting certain conditions to work and study in the United States. This reevaluation has been rumored for awhile, but now seems to be approaching some kind of decision. 

A few months ago, after the Presidential election, I posted an entry reaffirming our support for undocumented students and outlining the relevant MIT policies and procedures. Yesterday, in the Boston Globe, MIT President Rafael Reif argued against the possible repeal of DACA. You should read the whole thing, but I will quote some parts that specifically resonated with me here: 

As the president of one of America’s leading technical universities — an institution built on intellectual excellence, a meritocratic openness to talent, and a long tradition of national service — I believe repealing DACA would be a mistake.... read the post »

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Aug 10 2017

PSA: the app is live

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The MIT freshman application for the prospective Class of 2022 is now available at

 

> > > my.mit.edu < < < 

 

You know what to do. Be yourself. Be good to others. Take care of your business, but try not to worry too much. Remember the difference between things you can control and things you can't, and that where you'll go is not who you'll be. Most of all, try to enjoy your senior year; it's the only one you will ever have. 

I believe in you. Good luck. 

 

 

 

Discussion

Jul 31 2017

Our 2017-18 Application Essay Questions

Posted in: Miscellaneous

We've gotten some questions about our essay prompts for the forthcoming cycle. There's no reason to start on them now, but some people like to begin thinking and planning ahead of time, which I respect and value (maybe the most underappreciated thing a good college applicant can do is make sure everything is done on time!).

As you may know, we have our own application, with 5 short-answer essay questions (I've blogged about the philosophy behind that here). Sometimes we change the prompts between cycles, but this year, we've kept them the same as last year, to wit: 

  • We know you lead a busy life, full of activities, many of which are required of you. Tell us about something you do simply for the pleasure of it. (100 words or fewer)
  • Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why? (100 words or fewer)
  • At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their... read the post »

Discussion

Jul 21 2017

Celebrating Defiance @ the Media Lab

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Last July, the MIT Media Lab created a $250,000 award to recognize and celebrate responsible disobedience:  

The Media Lab Disobedience Award seeks to highlight effective, responsible, ethical disobedience across disciplines (scientific research, civil rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and the freedom to innovate, for example). Disobedience Award objectives are to build awareness and support of disobedience-robust work being done around the world, and to promote role models for younger people. With this award, we will honor work that impacts society in positive ways, and is consistent with a set of key principles, including non-violence, creativity, courage, and responsibility for one’s actions. The award will go to a living person or group engaged in what we believe is extraordinary disobedience for the benefit of society. We’re seeking both expected and unexpected nominees.

 

Yesterday, the inaugural winners -- scientists who exposed the poisoning of the waters of... read the post »

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