Grad Life

Grad Life blog posts offer insights from current MIT graduate students twice a month on Slice of MIT.


Grad Life: Stories of Science and SuperAging

“This January, during the only IAP of my one-year science writing master’s program, I packed my bags and headed to Logan Airport, escaping the icy, wet New England winter for… the icy, wet Chicagoland winter. I was off to visit Northwestern University’s school of medicine to do unconventional research for an unconventional thesis. I was there to learn about the scientists in the neurology lab I was visiting as much as about the topic they were studying.”

Author: Bennett McIntosh is a science writing graduate student.



Grad Life: Birth of a Sloan Entrepreneur

“I am one of three co-founders of Before It’s too Late (BITL), an initiative striving to shift the climate change narrative by closing society’s empathetic distance from it. I am working with five other Sloan students, in addition to supporters and allies across the nation, to create a virtual reality experience that highlights climate change stories, solutions, and simulations, aspiring to generate a sense of urgency and accountability that can be galvanized into collective action.”

Author: Jennifer Ballen MBA ’17 is co-founder of Before It’s too Late and founder/contributing writer of a sustainable business blog.


Grad Life: MIT Is Less an Ivory Tower, More a Market Square

“As I prepared to start my PhD in biological engineering in fall 2014, I can recall two distinct feelings: thankfulness for the privilege and anxiety for the task at hand. I was so grateful for the chance to come to MIT, to train in the field of chemical biology, and join the ranks of scientists focused on cancer research. And, as that gratitude sunk in, the anxiety snuck in right on its heels.”

Author: Shelby Doyle is a biological engineering PhD candidate and is a fellow in the biological engineering communication lab.


Grad Life: How MIT’s Center for Civic Media Taught Me the Strength of Hope

“Whether it is climate change, environmental justice, or energy infrastructure, when problems seem overwhelming, the strength of hope becomes even more important. And that’s the key to the Center for Civic Media—the continued faith in our potential to make a difference.”

Author: Katie Arthur is a comparative media studies graduate student. 



Grad Life: Dreams of MIT—On Becoming a SciWriter

“MIT’s Graduate Program in Science Journalism, or SciWrite, is less about scientific journals than science journalism,” explains Bennett McIntosh “…the all-important, oft-neglected task of communicating the facts and stories of science to the general public.”

Author: Bennett McIntosh is a science writing graduate student.



Grad Life: Bringing the Lab to the Field

“GOV/LAB demonstrates that rigorous scientific research can be accomplished in the absence of white lab coats, beakers, and sterile environments,” explains Leah R. Rosenzweig. “My political science research with GOV/LAB, since its inception in 2013, has taken me to poor rural villages in Tanzania, urban slums in Kenya, and youth hangouts in Uganda.” Read more.

Author: Leah R. Rosenzweig is a political science PhD candidate. 


katiearthur_featuredMIT Helped Me Tackle My Technophobia—and Push Disciplinary Boundaries

Katie Arthur admits that starting at MIT was overwhelming for her. I was one of those people. Self-confessed technophobe and analog extraordinaire, MIT seemed worlds apart from my undergraduate study in an institution that was over 565 years old (and in a castle). I was used to first editions of Shakespeare, not first glimpses at Oculus.

Author: Katie Arthur is a comparative media studies graduate student. 


MIT_CrossThe Magnetism of a Campus in a Digital Era

Matthew Claudel’s thesis involves studying the MIT campus and pathways for collaboration. “There must be a certain magnetism that drew us to campus. It’s an air that we’ve been breathing from day one, co-respirating with some of the brightest minds of our generation and previous ones. We brush shoulders with our peers and mentors and heroes—that’s the magic of being here.” Read more.

Author: Matthew Claudel is an urban studies and planning graduate student. 



The Best $75 I’ve Ever Spent

Shelby Doyle almost didn’t apply to MIT because she thought it was a waste of money. “I thought to myself, ‘If I send this application in, I’d be like paying $75 for someone to print it out and throw it away. Now, I know I’m not the first MIT graduate student to experience some degree of self-doubt, but this early onset pessimism was a bit extreme. ‘” Read more.

Author: Shelby Doyle is a biological engineering PhD candidate and is a fellow in the biological engineering communication lab.



Unexplored Worlds—the History of Blacks in Medicine

“…a week into a semester of required classes…I found myself still waiting for an opportunity to engage with my beloved worlds. What’s more, I had recently found out that my lab work would likewise not focus on my research interests. I would instead be working on an archive known as Blacks in American Medicine.” Read more.

Author: Evan Higgins is a comparative media studies graduate student. He works in HyperStudio, the digital humanities lab, where he researches the history of black physicians in America. 


09-15-16_jenniferballen2_featuredimageMy First Year at Sloan Led Me Around The World

“It is rare that one has the same exact vacation schedule as hundreds of amazing, like-minded yet entirely different, people. This is the beauty of the full-time MBA program. After Panama, I traveled to Cape Cod, Istanbul, Cartagena, Breckenridge, Newport, Japan, and Israel…My deepest bonds at Sloan have been formed through traveling.” Read More.

Author: Jennifer Ballen MBA ’17 is founder/contributing writer of a sustainable business blog and recently interned at the National Hockey League, with the NHL Green Team.

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