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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

Fall Travel Day 1: Hartford by Ben Jones

Part 1 of my Fall Travelogue.

Overall, a good first day on the road. Woke up early, packed for the first leg of the trip, left Boston. (Note to self: pack the night before, otherwise one is bound to forget things when one is rushing to get out the door.) Made good time to Hartford; checked into the Hilton (didn’t see Paris or Nicky though) and grabbed the MIT boxes that were waiting for me.

Headed over to GHAMAS to meet Howard Thiery, the director. Totally cool guy. I mean, how can you not be cool when your last name is Thiery and you’re the director of a math/science academy? I know the spelling’s not a perfect match, but it’s close enough for me.

After that meeting (which included discussions on everything from admissions to the point at which upper-level math/physics becomes philosophy because it’s so far out there) I headed up into the senior room for the GHAMAS school visit. Robbed my uncle (who is the GHAMAS math guru) of his entire linear algebra class (sorry). A great bunch of people – thanks for being so hospitable guys!

Sam Lord (the new regional chair for Hartford EC’s) and I had an early dinner at Wood & Tap, where I got to hear all about his adventures as a student at MIT.

Got back to GHAMAS to set up for the Hartford central meeting around 6PM, and that’s when things started to get interesting. :-) In a nutshell, I’d had trouble getting in touch with the previous regional chair and thus had to book the Hartford meeting myself (Sam didn’t take over the position until after the meeting had already been booked).

I’d relied on the past few years’ Hartford numbers – less than 150 in attendance. So I’d booked a room that holds 150+ and figured things were all set. Last week someone clued me in to the fact that MIT had cancelled the New Haven meeting this year, and thus all of those folks would be making the trip to Hartford. Yikes.

All’s well that ends well. We did have 50-75 people standing and/or sitting in the aisles – if you were one of those people, I apologize once again – but still the meeting seemed to go really well. Folks asked great questions at the end, and the other details went flawlessly. GHAMAS has phenomenal facilities – I literally just plugged in my laptop and all of the audio/video was instantly rockin’ (usually we have to bring that stuff with us). They had a free parking garage steps from the meeting location, and the campus is in a good central Hartford location.

If we do the meeting there again next year (and I hope we will), we’ll move to the theater, which holds a few hundred more. Sorry again to everyone who had to stand.

I got a tour of GHAMAS after the meeting – wow. They don’t have chalk boards – they have these things that look like big white boards but are hooked up to computers so that after the class each GHAMAS student can download everything the teacher wrote. This may sound normal to you guys, but to me (a ’92 high school grad) this was mind-blowing. Ah, technology.

Finally got to my hotel room around midnight and here I am. TIRED! See some of you tomorrow in New York.

7 responses to “Fall Travel Day 1: Hartford”

  1. Neha says:

    Haha, in ’92 I was 4.

    But still, being able to download what the teacher wrote is phenominal to me. MIT should definitely look into this option. =) That way… you can completely focus on what the teacher is teaching and then later, when you’re doing homework you can reference the notes the teacher gave you.

  2. Mollie says:

    They have those whiteboards in a few places at MIT — notably the building 56 Athena cluster and in the foreign language classrooms attached to the Language Learning and Resource Center (16-6something).

    I agree that they are ridiculously cool, although I have to admit I’ve never actually made use of them.

  3. We just got those boards at Stuy as I left, and let me just say that they’re completely useless. One of the main points of taking notes is that you subconsciously remember things as you write them down. Notes are _that_ much more useful if you wrote them.

    We need to stop being lazy. :p

  4. Emily says:

    Great info session, Ben!! In less then two hours, you convinced my friend to apply to MIT EA and reaffirmed my decision to do so. MIT seems like a ridiculously super-awesome place.

    By the way, if I have big feet will you give my application a boost? (I was standing next to the lady who asked about your shoe size) MIT could really use some foot diversity.

  5. Katrina says:

    We got those boards too this year. They’re pretty sweet, although I’m not sure how much they actually facilitate learning. The one thing they are helpful for is when the teacher needs to use a complex diagram and doesn’t want to spend the entire class drawing it on the chalkboard.

    And everyone still take notes – if it’s a question of copying it down in class and spending all that time printing them out later, you might as well write it down yourself while you’re a captive audience.

  6. Rachel says:

    I liked your presentation in Hartford a lot, thanks for coming to town. You mentioned how a student should be a good “match” when applying for MIT, and then discussed some aspects/adjectives of this match student. Can you tell me what these were? I forgot to write them down and I’m curious as to what they were. Thanks

  7. Steve says:

    Enjoyed the info session! Wasn’t so sure about applying at first (frankly, I was scared), but now MIT’s on the “Will Apply” list.

    Ah, I feel so weird asking this here, but could i grab your email address? I’d like to ask you a few questions.

    Thanks! I’m no longer scared of MIT. ^_^