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MIT student blogger Hamsika C. '13

Women’s Initiative by Hamsika C. '13

A bit about my classes - and why girls are awesome smile

Sooo ~ MIT’s back in session and life is again much too full with everything except enough time. I’m taking the following classes this semester:

7.05 – General Biochemistry – In the last two classes, we learned that asparagine was named after asparagus, and that if our body pH levels dropped below 7.0 and we didn’t have buffers, we’d die. As you can tell, both extremely valuable pieces of information :)

9.52 – Stat for Neuroscience – Thanks to this class, I’m finally learning MATLAB. This class is interesting in that 90% of our grade is based on problem sets, 5% on participation, and the remaining 5% on some in-class assignment that is supposedly easy. It’s a new class, offered as a substitute for 9.07: the notoriously painful and (till now) absolutely required Course 9 (brain/cognitive sciences) stat class. 9.52 is superr chill.

24.900 – Linguistics – This is widely acknowledged as the golden Course 9 class, since it counts not only towards the Course 9 core requirements but also to the MIT communication requirement. Our professor, David Pesetsky, is pretty awesome. The majority of my class notes consists of me quoting him and accompanying these quotes with cartoons.

18.03 – Differential Equations – So far, I really like 18.03, though it’s extremely obvious that I haven’t taken a math class in a year, haha: integral of 1/(1-x)^2*dx? – yeah, definitely had to look up partial fractions all over again.

CMS.100 – Introduction to Media Studies – We pretty much get to watch videos in every class and check out various photographs taken over the ages. The class times are a little strange (Wed 3:30 – 5 pm, Thurs 7 – 9 pm), but class is so relaxed that it’s not really a problem.

Aside from chasing a freaked-out squirrel through a corridor, I haven’t had anything mind-blowing and/or crazy exciting happen to me so far this semester. So instead, I’m going to share some pictures with you guys from my last week of IAP, during which I did Women’s Initiative.

The goal of Women’s Initiative is to send MIT women to middle schools and high schools all over the United States, giving them the opportunity to speak with girls at these schools and encourage them to go into science and engineering fields. My partner (Sondy) and I went to 4 middle schools and 2 high schools in the Missouri City area and gave approximately seven 1-hour presentations every single day. It was definitely tiring – but it was also tons of fun. Midway through each presentation, we gave the girls a building task, asking them to compete with one another and see who could build the tallest structure out of newspaper and masking tape.

Some of the girls started out with absolutely no interest in us or our presentation. They avoided eye contact, ignored our suggestions, and refused to participate. A couple minutes into the building activity, however, they completely got into it! The tallest newspaper-tape structure ended up 10 feet tall; it only took 15 minutes for some teenagers at Elkins High School to make it :)

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The one that was 10 feet tall

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If you’re a middle/high-schooler, you should get your science administrator to check out this page, so we can visit YOU next year. And if you’re curious, you can check out the presentation Sondy and I gave here.

p.s. I know it’s a little early. But I’m still wayy excited for CPW 2011 :)

4 responses to “Women’s Initiative”

  1. Love the post, the course listing and explanation was awesome. More bloggers should do that! smile I can fully relate to teaching and loving it, as well.

  2. Haha, I saw a TED conference video about these paper towers and how well they were built by teams of people from different professions and age groups. Obviously engineers did best, followed by schoolchildren, cashiers, and finally business executives…

    I’m really excited for CPW 2011 too, assuming I get the chance to go ;P

  3. Sammy '15 says:

    That sounds like so much fun! And I know it’s early, but I get giddy just thinking about CPW! I’m visiting this weekend and think I might pass out when I finally see the Institute, so if you see a medium-height brunette girl falling face first into the snow with a giant smile on her face… it might or might not be me. :o

  4. Nikita (13) says:

    I still think you’re a cutie.
    RING PREMIERE OH YA