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Alumni Class Funds Awarded for the 2019-20 Academic Year

Fifteen educational initiatives have received grants from the Alumni Class Funds for the 2019-2020 academic year. The diverse projects come from 14 departments across all five schools.

Citing the OVC’s focus on first-year exploration, the biological engineering department proposed a BE twist on the Mens et Manus: The Joy of MIT (6.A01) seminar. It will result in two short, hands-on project modules: one will teach design concepts through a bacterial photography system; the other will give students the opportunity to build bio-bots, or biologically engineered machines.

The biology department will create supplemental MITx pre-lab content for its new six-credit subject 7.002 (Experimental Molecular Biology) for first-year students. This self-paced material will help close any potential knowledge gaps and allow for more class time devoted to guest faculty speakers and lab sessions.

The mechanical engineering department plans to introduce first-year students to project-based engineering education through a new class. The subject will run parallel to 2.013/2.014, an upper-level project-based sequence for MechE majors. First years will assist juniors and seniors in completing capstone projects, fostering collaboration and peer mentorship. In exposing first-year students to advanced material that is not usually available to them, the department hopes to encourage more informed decision-making about future major and career paths.

The Funds also support new curricula based on current events and study. Professor Berinsky of the political science department proposed a hands-on introduction to survey design and analysis through a new subject, based on his recent research. The class, titled Public Opinion Research Training Seminar: Fixing Fake News, will address the problem of false information by giving students the skills to combat it.

Since 1994, almost 200 projects have received support from the Alumni Class Funds, many of which have brought significant long-term educational innovation to MIT.

Alison Trachy, Registrar’s Office