Let’s talk about science…and chocolate by Melis A. '08
A day of scientific enlightment followed by one of chocolate consumption.
In Ancient Greece, the word “symposium” referred to a gathering of rich men reclining on comfy couches while drinking and battling wits. The symposium that I attended on Friday was quite a different assembly. Held at the beautiful new conference center at Harvard Medical School, the New England Science Symposium featured oral presentations and posters from students of a wide range of ages and backgrounds. The event officially began at 8 AM, and the morning was spent listening to medical and graduate students present their research. At 11 AM, the keynote presentation was given by Dr. Roderic Ivan Pettigrew, the director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, who received his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from MIT in 1977. He gave an inspiring presentation that highlighted some incredible biomedical research, including a glucose-sensing contact lens that has a little patch of color that changes in response to glucose levels. I was famished by the end of the talk, but luckily it was lunch time! One chicken sandwich, cookie, and bag of chips later, I found myself back in the auditorium listening to the final round of presentations. Then, it was my turn! The poster session was from 2:00-3:40 PM, when I had the chance to present my summer research conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to several judges and Harvard Medical School faculty. It’s always neat to explain your work to people who know so much more about it than you do… Following the poster session was a panel about navigating our scientific careers. Anyways, I would encourage you all to take any opportunity that you can to present any research that you have done; not only do you get free goodies like food and a tote bag, but you meet a lot of inspiring people and improve your scientific communication skills.
Saturday night was my sorority’s annual Fondue Dessert extravaganza! Given that I have been on the planning committee for the past two years, this event is near and dear to my heart [click here for last year’s entry]. We invited faculty, administrators, and staff to meet and chat with the sisters of Alpha Chi Omega (abbreviated as “AXO”) from 8 to 9 pm; from 9 to 11 pm, we opened the house to the whole MIT community. More than forty faculty members and 350 students contributed to the consumption of 75 pounds of chocolate in 3 hours.
There is nothing like talking to your professors while surrounded by burbling chocolate fountains and every possible baked good dipped in chocolate. We were honored to have in attendance President Susan Hockfield, her husband, Dr. Tom Byrne, and her daughter, as well as the Dean of Undergraduate Education, Daniel Hastings, and his wife. Of course, no AXO fondue event is complete without Matt’s presence. As always, he was swarmed by admirers (photographic evidence included below, as well as here.) I get so overwhelmed with joy when such influential members of the MIT community take time out of their busy schedules to hang out with students on a Saturday night! I think it says volumes about their commitment to student life, given the range of conversations from suggestions of creating more studio space for student artists to advice for candidates running for student council president.
Thanks to everyone who came and made the night a huge success. To those of you who have not yet stepped foot on campus, I hope you can make it next year!